I finally got the long awaited (for me anyway) Pages last Friday when it was released here in Ireland. If you are in the UK you will have to wait another few weeks. I am afraid I am not sure when will it be released for the rest of the world.
As much as I liked 13 Songs, Julie's first award winning album, Pages feels like a far superior album. It is more coherent and consistent. Where 13 Songs was a collection of great tunes where each song stood on its own, Pages has a sense of purpose. 13 Songs was at times quirky and the arrangements a little overworked, Pages in turn is well structured and the arrangements let you appreciate the melodies for what they are. Each song flows from the previous with great ease. Julie says on the album notes that she spent a long time preparing for the album and working alone on it for most of 2008. The notes appeared last January on her blog and you can get a link to it from my previous post.
One of the things that you notice immediately is the orchestration. Julie worked very hard since the release of 13 Songs to improve her orchestrating and conducting skills. In my view it really paid off. The arrangements are beautiful and they support and lift the melodies. Some of the vocal harmonies are, well, just beautiful. Two songs jump straight away: 'Mr. Roving Eye Guy' and the aptly named ' Impossibly Beautiful'.
In terms of the orchestral arrangements, perhaps the best example is the opening track 'Love is a Tricky Thing' which you can download for free from Julie's website.
I already have my tickets for the show in Crawdaddy next Wednesday (June 10th, 2009). I am really looking forward to the show. I am wondering how will Julie be able to pack so much music in such a small stage!
If you are reading this outside Ireland and the UK, I really recommend you buy this album as an import from one of the online stores. Some details on the mittens website, the label that Julie setup to release her music. You won't regret it!