Published Jul 07, 2020July Talk are a band that have never stood still. Bursting onto the scene with a blend of scorching blues riffs and enchanting, salty-sweet vocals, their incendiary 2012 debut made them feel like CanRock's next great hope. Their 2016 follow-up, Touch, had a little less distortion and was a little more brooding, adding an introspective side to the bluesy-rock that quickly became the band's calling card.
Pray for It, the band's third album, leans harder into this thoughtfulness that shaped July Talk's sophomore record: gone are the soaring riffs, the rapid-shot lyrics and the fire in the belly. Instead, it's a haunting, mid-tempo offering, more suitable to a smoky lounge than a dingy dive bar. Even when the albums back end speeds up, the band still lacks the crunchy tone and urgency of their earlier days.
There are standout moments, such the upbeat rocker "Governess Shadow" or the haunting introduction track "Identical Love." But these moments are tempered by experiments that didn't quite land (looking at you, "Champagne.")
Pray for It feels like the end result of a journey that started at the beginning of Touch's recording. It's a departure from their signature blues-rock into unexplored, calmer waters. It's a sound that suits them, although older fans may feel like July Talk have lost some of the magic that made them fall in love. (Sleepless Records)