Secret Meeting score: 84
by Philip Moss
In April 2018, Julia Shapiro was amidst a U.S tour with her band, Chastity Belt, who were promoting their third album, I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone, when she found her self questioning everything. A mental and physical build up of circumstances reached breaking point and the tour was cancelled.
In many ways, the opening social observations of Natural sum up the mindset that led to Shaprio’s breakdown in confidence, as she realises who she is by defining what she finds so alien in others- ‘How can someone be so blindly confident? I wanna know that truth. How can you love yourself so damn much? It isn’t natural!’ Vocally, there are shades of Snail Mail, which seduce over Sonic Youth guitars and Lynchian synths, as the opener’s closed mindset sets the tone for the majority of the melancholic home recordings that follow.
The mournful qualities continue on Parking Lot – its bewitching melodies mean it feels like Grouper with added pop tendencies, and Shape is a gloriously chugging slab of modern day shoegaze. Closer, Empty Cup, announces a ‘lasting sense of self’ and brings the record to a close with a momentary sense of equilibrium being restored.
Although it may have been born out of crisis, Shapiro has clearly used Perfect Vision as a focus – and while in some ways it’s unfair to compare it to her previous band works, it is undoubtedly the best record of her career, and a fine way to announce herself onto the solo stage.