Julia Holter is set to release her sixth studio album Aviary on October 26, the follow up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record Have You In My Wilderness.
The first release off the new album is I Shall Love 2. The song is a sonic experience; an expansive, textured, ethereal composition with hints of electronica and pop.
The first section of the song plays out a little like an audio diary entry, with Holter’s smooth spoken words accompanied by a splitter-splattering of constant electronic drums and Psycho-esque screeching piano and violin; all working to leave a film of eeriness over the listener.
The song hits its strides and becomes more coherent with rounded hooks and Julia utilising her vocals. And what vocals they are, cutting and honest, as she asks “What do you squander?” “What do you hold?”, a question perhaps directed at love itself.
A particularly poetic moment is when numerous harmonies echo off Holter’s as she triumphantly repeats “I shall love”, until it trails off into a chanting, hypnotising ritual, a bed for your ear.
Interestingly, there is another track on Aviary called I Shall Love 1. Sequels mean that a story hasn’t ended, that there is a continuation of enclosed parts. Perhaps this is Holter saying that her story in love hasn’t ended. She isn’t defeated.
Although the song is stitched together and thought out beautifully, building and plateauing nicely, there is still a good amount of madness in it. Such as the opposing voices and musical parts which fight for space and in doing so insight sweet chaos and confusion.
It’s no secret that Holter has had a turbulent few years, and I Shall Love 2 is a kind of gentle defiance. It’s vulnerable, but strong as hell in its creative aptitude and direction. The song shows that there is beauty and strength in sadness, confusion, horror and vulnerability.
If I Shall Love 2 is anything to go by, there is a lot to look forward to from Aviary.