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The second album from Julia Jacklin, both a reaction to her personal circumstances and a method of dealing with them, is a huge leap forward. An impressed Jonathan Wright hears how it was made

Sometimes, the underlying themes of an album don’t become clear until after recording has finished. Take singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin’s sophomore offering, Crushing, a record where a recurring idea is the need for personal space. “It’s interesting how things reveal themselves, even to the artist, once they’ve finished the record, realising the first five tracks referenced my body, which wasn’t my conscious decision or anything,” she says.

It’s an album that grew out of being on the road constantly in the company of others and of being in a relationship, of feeling smothered, but also being confident enough to do something about this. “The record’s about becoming a lot more aware of what I deserve as a person and getting the courage to actually ask for it,” she says. “I think it came from two years of intense growth, personally, and intense change as well.”

If this makes it sound as if Crushing is an album where the songs are intense and confessional, that’s a fair assessment. However, it’s by no means the whole story. If Jacklin the lyricist sometimes reveals almost unbearably intimate details, her delivery matches her growing confidence. When, on Body, she sings of a lover, a bed and a camera being turned on her – “Do you still have that photograph? Would you use it to hurt me?” – there’s an underlying regret, yes, but she sounds defiant. While it covers much of the smoky alt-folk territory of her 2016 debut, Don’t Let The Kids Win, it’s light years ahead in terms of writing, poise and performance.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 24 of Long Live Vinyl is now on sale! Join us as we uncover vinyl’s great lost albums – the 40 essential bootlegs and live records that never got an official release. From David Bowie to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Kraftwerk, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z and The Beatles, don’t miss our definitive guide. Elsewhere this issue, Mercury Rev tell us about revisiting Bobbie Gentry’s lost classic, The Delta Sweete, and we speak to Julia Jacklin and Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan about their brilliant new albums. 1980s pop mastermind Trevor Horn talks us through the 10 records that shaped his remarkable career, we meet the punk labels who are redefining the future of vinyl, celebrate Warp Records’ 30th birthday, look back at the work of the great Andy Warhol, and pay tribute to our Classic Album – The Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace Of Sin. If all that’s not enough, you’ll find the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue and gear reviews anywhere on the newsstand.