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Girls Need Attention

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Album Review

On his sixth album, Richard Julian proves that you can say more in a whisper than you can with a shout. Like its predecessor, 2008's Sunday Morning in Saturday's Shoes, Girls Need Attention is a sparsely produced affair, centering on Julian's acoustic guitar and husky croon, adding other elements only as needed. When the barbed-wire guitar licks of Wilco's Nels Cline crop up on the incisive "Words," for instance, it's a sound that's essential to the feel of the tune, not just some overdubbed afterthought. And while the dynamic is mostly a low-key one throughout the album, Julian's trenchant songcraft can turn even the most ostensibly unassuming ballad into a weapon of mass destruction. A perfect example is "World We Made," where the pretty melody and placid feel are undercut at key moments by a subtle-but-stark evocation of emotional turmoil, matched at those same points by discordant turns in the harmonic structure. The album's lone cover tune — in fact, the first one Julian has ever recorded — suggests a stylistic lineage as it tips a hat to the original master of subtly sardonic songwriting; Julian gives Randy Newman's hilariously tragic tale "A Wedding in Cherokee County" a perfectly deadpan reading with a rootsy guitar-and-fiddle setting that's actually closer to the milieu of its backwoods characters than Newman's piano-led original. Of course, it's not all sneaky subversion — tunes like the opening cut, "Window," for example, are dreamy swirls of images that tickle the cerebral cortex even as they connect a straight line to the soul, in the way that some of Paul Simon's more stream-of-consciousness latter-day songs might. ~ J. Allen, Rovi


Born: June 13, 1967 in Arden, DE

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A gifted songwriter that has garnered much respect in the underground, folk singer Richard Julian demonstrates a talent for strong melodies and his own distinct sound. Born in Arden, DE, Julian became a classically trained pianist at a young age and found himself writing his own songs in his early teens. A planned move to Los Angeles got him as far as Las Vegas, where he became a keyboard player for several big-name cocktail singers. After spending a year in the town, he moved to New York City and...
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Girls Need Attention, Richard Julian
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