July Talk’s ‘Remember Never Before’ is rooted in reality and rawness

17 February 2023 / by Ava Wagner
Remember Never Before Album Cover
Album reviews
July Talk Remember Never Before
Released: January 20, 2023
Label: Six Shooter Records
Alternative Rock
Arctic Monkeys / Arkells / The Trews
After This, Human Side, Hold , Twenty Four Hours

The Canadian alternative rock band July Talk has crafted a refined and intense album, sticking with the dynamic vocals and blues-rock sonics we love them for, and taking a hopeful approach toward the future that is both emotional and empowering.    

What I’ve always found the most endearing about July Talk’s music is the vocal battles and truces between lead vocalists Leah Fay Goldstein and Peter Dreimanis. Goldstein’s soft, yet shrill, bright voice paired with Dreimanis’ raspy and booming howl complement each other perfectly, creating a magnetic listening experience as listener’s are drawn into their melodic conversations. The contrast is very much present on this record, as with all of their past work, bringing an untouchable energy to the band that is not often seen in the modern alternative rock scene.    

Opening track “After This” comes in with a vengeance. The fast, driving guitar and racing drums backing lyrics are filled with the possibility of moving on and becoming something or someone else after a relationship or life obstacle. 

Following that is “Certain Father,” an almost 80s synth rock track but with a darker edge. The fuzzy guitar riffs and vocal echoes marking a sonic side of the band I’d love to see more of. 

The pair have leaned away from their more opposing call-and-response lyrical style and instead have shifted to presenting a more cohesive perspective on their musings, especially when they sing about coming back from hard times and being there for the ones you love during their dark moments. 

The delicacy of the lyrical content with the chaos of the accompanying instrumentals pairs perfectly, and brings a vulnerability to the sometimes intense instrumentation.

“Human Side” is a cry for that vulnerability, begging listeners to “climb out of your comfort / your control / bare your soul / and bring out that human side.” The verses start soft with a bit of a dance groove, transitioning into a catchy, and anthemic chorus with bright guitars and powerful vocals.   

Telling a story of the duality of love, “Hold” describes the beauty of being able to love someone so deeply, but still be able to hold each other accountable when it counts. Over a jaunty guitar riff, reminiscent of early The 1975, the loving lyrics and swooning melody make for a truly beautiful love song that acts as a nice breather from the intensity of the first three tracks. 

“When You Stop” reminds me of a Killers track. The chiming guitar and steady, building drums accompany sentiments of care and comfort — “I know that the pain that you feel is your own / and there’s nothing to say / but I wish I could take it away.”

Second-last track “Raw” is aptly named, a strong piano ballad with raspy, at times shaking, vocals baring insecurities and being received with love regardless — “I lay my cards for you to see / no poker face when you look at me.”

While the slower, more lyrically focused songs resonated with me compared to the faster-paced numbers getting lost within each other at times, the album has an undeniable pulsing energy  throughout the track list and should prove to make an unforgettable live show as they begin their North American tour this March. You can catch July Talk at Massey Hall from March 10-11, and all across Canada this spring as they tour the new record.