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Julian's Lullaby - "I Can Hear You Thinking" (Promo CD)

Julian's Lullaby - "I Can Hear You Thinking" Promo CD cover image

"I Can Hear You Thinking" track listing:

1. Eyes of Grey
2. Kiss Me Not (Tonight)
3. Queen in Your Dream
4. Hanging Crown
5. Ocean of Tears
6. Just for a Day

Reviewed by on March 30, 2008

"...the thought that takes over is, “What were they thinking?'"

Formed in 2004, Julian’s Lullaby tries to blend elements of hard rock, acoustic folk and metal on their six-song promo, “I Can Hear You Thinking.”

At first listen, “Eyes of Grey” seemed an odd choice for the opening track. It doesn’t make much of statement about what type of music the listener is in for, but I did like where the violin started to take the song near the end. It was the only place the song really seemed to move.

However, followed up by “Kiss Me Not (Tonight),” it didn’t take long to notice the lack of focus contained within the entire CD.

The Athens, Greece trio consider themselves folk metal, but to listen to “I Can Hear You Thinking,” the thought that takes over is, “What were they thinking?”

Each song has a distinctively different style. No dominant sound comes forth to distinguish this band as a unique entity. It’s a weird mushing together, seemingly, of whatever came out at the time. The songwriting feels lost, as if the band wasn’t confident in what they were trying to create.

The arrangements are full of abrupt changes within the songs themselves, the jumps from acoustic to electric guitar are awkward, especially with the distinctly different volume levels, and the compositions feel slapped together.

Guitarist Elias Negrin, who is also the band’s primary composer, has been writing and performing for a number of other bands since 1991. There are some fairly cool things going on with his acoustic style, but the power chord after power chord he plays to death every time he adds the electric guitar leaves your ears feeling shallow and just a little bit empty.

Vocally, Antonios Chaniotis and Efrosyne Papamichalopoulou sound at odds with one another, especially in “Kiss Me Not (Tonight).” Their voices do not compliment each other’s, instead sounding like they’re in a constant battle for the lead.

Papamichalopoulou should know better. A classically trained singer, her vocals sound uncertain, as though she lacks the confidence to reach for any sort of controlled dynamic. She can sing, but she doesn’t seem to respect the limits of her range, which makes her sound like an amateur.

Julian’s Lullaby is made up of three potentially competent musicians whose resumes make them look more experienced than they sound. Perhaps we can chalk up “I Can Hear You Thinking” to a few bad decisions. For example, why they chose to use a drum machine, rather than a real drummer is beyond me. The programmed rhythms are simple and repetitive and do not sound part of the music. They sound almost as if they’re floating around in the next room.

Additionally, the production quality is seriously lacking. I realize that working in a good recording studio isn’t always cheap or affordable, but I have heard better quality tracks coming out of a pre-teen’s basement.

Highs: I could probably listen to Chantiotis’ audibly sweet violin for hours. Just not here.

Lows: The overall quality of the product is poor. The mix is weak, making the lack of stylistic focus stand out even more.

Bottom line: With a little more practice and bit of patience, the next time Julian’s Lullaby releases a disc, I might actually make it all the way to the last song before I shut it off.

Rated 1 out of 5 skulls
1 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)