Review: Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens, “Family Pets”

Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens.
Image Courtesy of Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens

Whilst at the National Folk Festival over the Easter long weekend, Timber and Steel had the pleasure of catching a gig by Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens.

A young and charming band of talented musicians, based in Canberra in the ACT they are lead by the captivating Julia Johnson.

These guys are what I would call thoroughly lovely. I was immediately drawn into their world of the confusion of love and relationships, the reflection that comes from loss and the beauty of being youthful and alive.

After seeing them perform, I have been a little obsessed with the album Family Pets.  The album is a mixture of contemplative melancholy, emotional stories of self-discovery and personal loss, as well as musical prowess that one would expect from musicians of greater age.

Bittersweet stories brought to life through Julia’s beautifully haunting voice, rich string arrangements, acoustic guitar and even some toe-tapping banjo, make for an irresistible Sunday afternoon moody and meditative experience.

“Little surprises” is a personal favourite of mine.  It really touches a little part of one’s soul that is insecure and timid, but does celebratory back flips when love is returned and situations that have been painful then have an unexpected positivity attached to them. I also love the vocal arrangements, which exhibit Julia’s beautiful voice as well display the band’s vocal abilities through some lovely harmonies. These beautiful harmonies are definitely not exclusive to “Little Surprises”; they are present throughout the entirety of “Family Pets”. It is clearly one of Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens’ many strengths and I for one am sure happy it is.

The title track Family Pets is haunting and pensive and enchants with it’s emotionally charged string and vocal combination. Myself being a bit of an obsessive stringed instrument fan, I can’t help but lose myself in strings that hypnotize and speak.  If you too may like to lose yourself in the expressions of strings, “Old Horse” is so worth your listening time.

If banjo is your thing, then check out “Adeleine”. Catchy tune combined with an endearingly honest tale of social awkwardness and human behaviours. You can’t help but tap along and relate.

As a girl who can be a little introspective and has fascinations with the small and beautiful moments in life, Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens’ Family Pets is an album that I can happily lose myself in and I really think that you need to get into this album, you won’t be disappointed. Also, get into this band in a live environment. I can’t wait to see them again, I just hope I don’t have to wait until next year’s National Folk Festival to have the pleasure!

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