Phantastic Ferniture – Phantastic Ferniture

No one can deny a solo artist who trades in "sad music with a guitar" the chance to let loose and have some fun, and on Phantastic Ferniture, Julia Jacklin is having it in spades

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 23 Jul 2018
  • Phantastic Ferniture – Phantastic Ferniture
Album title: Phantastic Ferniture
Artist: Phantastic Ferniture
Label: Transgressive
Release date: 27 Jul

Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin has described her new project with bandmates Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K Brennan as a way of getting away from her “sad music with a guitar” style. Admittedly, that sad music with a guitar has hit an incredibly connective chord with her fans and, let’s not forget, a lot of the best music being made right now can be described, rather inanely, as such.

Not that Jacklin thinks in a demeaning way of her own music. After a stint playing sombrely to crowds across the world since 2016's Don’t Let the Kids Win, no one can deny her the desire to let loose and have some fun. Luckily, Phantastic Ferniture is more than just a disposable side project to let off some steam.

It may lack the richness and depth of her solo work, but that is replaced with absolutely towering riffs and Jurassic grooves. The trio really reach for the Titanic; the DIY aesthetic of the genre often relies on scrappiness, but they manage to hit the right note whilst scaling things up. Take It Off and I Need It sound massive.

Jacklin’s voice is a welcome ingredient in the blender of a style whose most notable influencers are male. But the provocation to mix things up doesn’t come in the form of savage lyrical play or political statements. Jacklin’s basic refrain of 'Fuckin ‘n’ rollin just feels right' is cussy and brattish enough to make a point all on its own. Sleater-Kinney’s send-up of, but also tribute to, classic rock The Woods is a touchstone here.

Closer, Mumma y Pappa is a microcosm of the project in full: jammy, childish, not a little ridiculous and a perfectly executed homage to the excess and extravagance of rock'n'roll. Jacklin sets out to have fun, and she has it in spades.

Listen to: Uncomfortable Teenager, Take It Off, Mumma y Pappa