Juliet Huns – Behind the Scenes
The title of Juliet Huns’ debut release, Behind the Scenes, implies that the three songs comprising the EP reveal something deeper about Huns than what a common pop tracks might do. If we accept this interpretation as true, then even a single listen to Behind the Scenes will convince anyone that Huns has achieved her goal with ease. The musical arrangements are largely driven by electronica like keyboards and synths, but Huns proves she isn’t afraid to mix that up as the songwriting demands. The production zeroes in on capturing her vocals in the best possible way, but it presents the music quite well and emphasizes its melodic virtues. There is a sureness about this recording that’s quite appealing. It is clear from the start that Huns knows exactly where she wants to go and how to achieve every effect she seeks out. Few releases of any length in 2016 will prove as satisfying as this.
You will know that within seconds of “Realized” beginning. There’s a percolating tension unveiled from the first notes on and a couple of a strong crescendos built into the track that propels the song to another level. The electronic bass and percussion pulse has a fat, warm sound rather than the typically sterile sonics one normally finds on these releases. The lyrical content is accessible throughout, but it’s equally well-worded and expresses itself with startling clarity not commonly heard in pop songs. The construction, thanks to features like the aforementioned minor crescendos built into the main body of the song, is one of the track’s strongest qualities. The breakdowns are particularly strong and, along with the crescendos, help make this one of the more memorable openers you’ll likely encounter this year.
“Gone” shares many similarities with the template Huns establishes in the opener, but the electronically treated guitar sounds in the song make it different than what came before. There’s certainly a hint of a rock and roll spirit wafting off the song and Huns capably integrates herself with the arrangement. The choruses of all three songs on Behind the Scenes are strong, but this is probably the more dramatic of the songs on the EP. “Red Line” alternates between frantic keyboard driven passages and laid back, relaxed verses. The song’s subject matter, however, is anything but relaxed and, even if it doesn’t exactly broach new thematic ground, Huns expresses herself in a highly individual and eloquent fashion with imagery and situations virtually everyone can relate to.
Behind the Scenes has impressive ambition for a three song EP. Huns manages to cover a lot of ground here, but her talents burn so brightly that listeners can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more surprises to come from her in the future. She is a formidable singer, equally blessed with passion and technique, and inhabits these tracks with undeniable spirit. Juliet Huns has sent her career off with a fine start on this release.
9 out of 10 stars
William Elgin III