By Phil Scarisbrick
When we spoke to Julia Bardo for her Sound and Vision piece, what was striking was the balance between her Italian roots and classic American music. Bardo was born in Italy, but moved to Manchester at a young age. She was there long enough for its music and culture to engrain itself into her make up, and that mix of Italian roots and American cool are littered throughout her debut EP, Phase, which sees her coming to terms with her past present and future.
Opener, Into Your Eyes, builds around a stoic, strummed guitar whose stability betrays a vulnerability in the words conveyed by Bardo. The exacerbated cries of “I have never felt so lonely, baby” and “Why are you trying to make me feel so bad?” are fine examples the diaristic approach she has to her writing. This open book approach is not only endearing, but keeps the listener hooked to the narrative of whatever part of her life she is sharing with us. Single, Please Don’t Tell Me, is Bardo trying to focus on herself as an artist, rather than being muddied by myriad of artists that we have access to. Played out on top of a melody-following guitar line and toe-tapping bass lick, this tale of striving for individuality is still littered with musical and production nods to the music that she holds dear.
Third track, Lonely Morning, spikes and flows with a variety of guitars evoking sounds as varied as solo Johnny Marr and Ennio Morricone. Bardo’s voice is deeply infectious, and this track once again lodges it in your brain. I Wanna Feel Love has the best chorus on the EP, and combines of Mattiel and Angel Olsen for a bittersweet farewell to her native Brescia. Once again the willingness to let the listener into her inner-most feelings are totally endearing, and the spoken word middle eight in her mother tongue only adds to this. Although – as the title states -this is just a phase, if the forthcoming album is anything like as wonderful, then this writer for one is very excited.