Album Review: Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Julien Baker’s Turn Out The Lights is a sombre exploration of religion, self-doubt and sexuality – the vocals are willowy, the vibe is emo-esque.

This is not an album for a feel good fix, more appropriate for a candlelit evening filled with reflection and introspection than anything even remotely social or frivolous. Baker’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, her lyrics are astute and yet the album is almost challenging – perhaps this was the intention.

Influenced by genres ranging from emo to Christian gospel, Julien Baker’s second solo album is a delicate and painful collection of songs. Each tune slightly more intense than the last, the imagery is thick with melancholy – the record is filled with angst and is as riddled with soul searching as it is with talent. Her vocals are exquisite, her talent is impossible to miss, and yet is almost overlooked as a result of the songs on the album being quite so similar in sound and style.

Of course as listeners we all understand how difficult this journey between youth and young adulthood can be – it is clear that Baker is musically gifted and perhaps Turn Out The Lights’encapsulates the journey that Baker has undertaken. It will be interesting to see how the artist develops in the future, as it seems little has changed between this record and her 2015 debut Sprained Ankle.

With subtle similarities to Daughter, Joanna Newsom and Martha Wainwright – Turn Out The Lights is worth a listen, just perhaps not one for the holiday playlist.

Jessica Newsome