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Julian Lynch


[Olde English Spelling Bee; 2010]

By ; August 13, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Who would’ve thunk that my little area in northern New Jersey would have developed a legitimate indie music scene? While certainly not yet at the level of hotbeds like Williamsburg, it’s still a bit of a surprise to realize that critically and popularly approved artists grew up and live twenty minutes down the road from me in towns like Ridgewood and Glen Rock, sharing childhood landmarks and even mutual acquaintances. Readers of music blogs, websites like Pitchfork and even the benchmark of music journalism, Rolling Stone, likely have seen positive reviews for north Jersey natives Ducktails, Real Estate and Titus Andronicus.

In addition to these more prominent successes, a bunch of other lesser known but extremely talented groups form the base of a really rather promising group of musicians, all of whom are friendly with another, going to each other’s shows, playing at backyard parties and collaborating on passion projects. A close friend of mine, who knows these fellows more intimately than I, asked a few musicians from the area while attending a recent Titus Andronicus show who from New Jersey was putting out the most exciting stuff. All of them answered Julian Lynch.

Julian Lynch hails from Ridgewood, New Jersey. While he’s been displaced for some time now, in Madison, Wisconsin, due to his admirable and extensive pursuits in higher education, New Jersey artists and listeners alike are proud to call him one of their own. His most newest release, Mare, showcases his creative ability.

Simply put, Mare is a success. Lynch creates peaceful, earthy soundscapes far more beautiful than the tools used to make them would seem to allow. The sound of the album is elusive enough that it is hard not to sound cliched in describing it. It’s a work that wouldn’t seem out of place next to nature poetry, descriptions of sights and sounds conjoined by ellipses (hazy… wet leaves… content… etc). It’s an album to be listened to when waking up in the house alone on a lazy morning, while watching the rain beat down on your car window, while taking a walk through damp woods, or whatever other situation puts you in the most serene of moods.

The album is not technically instrumental, as it certainly has vocals. The vocals, however, are used, as tends to be the case in current lo-fi, or chillwave, or whatever we’re supposed to be calling it now, more as another instrument than as a tool for lyrical expression. The closest musical comparison I have for the album is portions of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour (think less “Penny Lane” and “I Am the Walrus” and more “Flying” and “Blue Jay Way”).

Mare suffers a tad from the classic criticisms of the laid back, environment based type that it is. It blends together to some extent, and it for many, including myself, it’s probably an album you’ll listen to while doing something else. Admittedly few songs stick out in the traditional sense, yet all are excellent, from the very beginning of the Darjeeling Limited accents of “Just Enough” to the peaceful finale paying titular tribute to the Garden State, “In New Jersey.” Most importantly, listening Mare simply puts you in a pleasant, thoughtful mood, leads you toward introspection and appreciation- no light task, and one few albums can hope to accomplish as well as Lynch’s does.


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