Juliana Lachance’s short biovia her Bandcamp page caught my attention, explaining how she plays a rare Ukranian folk instrument called a bandura “…that has a rich tradition of wandering musicians, warrior Cossacks and playing for royalty,” the Hamilton, Ontario native wrote.
Further intrigued by the term dream folk, I hit play on her newest album, HEYAHO…and well, I found it hard to keep paying attention. To be fair, I’m a bit of a newbie to the folk genre. Thus far I have enjoyed most of what I’ve heard, but this one was just hard for me to embrace. (Albeit to her credit, I did start daydreaming.)
Hitting play, I was met with opening track “Bridges” (which has a neat video, I’ve gotta say!), and that was only a taste of what was to come…over and over. A very simple sound with only her voice accompanied by the bandura for the most part, I figured this was just a starting track to the album. I was wrong.
Lachance has a lovely voice; very lovely, in fact. The thing that got to me was being distracted in many songs by chanting echoes of her voice mixed in with the main singing. The sound of the bandura seemed off-key with the vocals in some songs; maybe that was kind of the point, but I surely missed it. (I’m a huge Mr.Bungle fan, soI like to think I know a thing or two about disorganized sounds being intentional.) Also, at some points I couldn’t tell if certain ticking-type sounds I was hearing were from her instrument, or digital blips adding to the distraction.
Going through the first four songs, I couldn’t really tell where one ended or the next began, but “Pistols” was a nice listen, with light drums overcoming the redundancy I was beginning to feel. Then things got confusing…I’m not sure, but I think there was an uploading error; the songs “Sweet Renee” and “Good Girl” are the same track. Then it seems (given that she tends to say the song title in her lyrics) the tracks are off a bit. So I want to say I really enjoyed the song “Trenches,” but it may actually be titled “Valgus.”
I reckon this may be a great listen for those who really enjoy simple music with poetic lyrics and a lot of echoes, or perhaps for the spiritual types…which makes me feel kinda bad about writing this review. This gal seems super sweet and sincere, and her music reflects that. Sadly, it deflected off my ears. To end on a positive note, however, Juliana is also an artist, and her paintings are a visual delight! You can check out her work here. Seeing her work inspired me to get back into painting, so I thank her for that motivation.
Written by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Kate Erickson