Julia Robert - P.O.W. [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Julia Robert

P.O.W. [7-inch] (2018)

Now Now Just Now

Like most countries in the world, South Africa suffers from a constant barrage of American media. Good luck finding a South African made film at the cinema amidst all the “Avengers”, “Madea”s and “Star Wars”. And, in Cape Town especially, hearing local South African musicians (especially in the “rock” or “punk” departments) can be quite difficult as well unless you know where to look. Despite the seeming obscurity of local talent, however, there is certainly no shortage of it.

In Cape Town, just beneath the surface, there is a thriving subculture of DIY rock. The various scenes can seem quite disjointed at times, but they are there; metal, punk, garage, indie, goth, are all represented (not to mention the numerous acts that reflect the more indigenous musical traditions of the continent). One such band that seems to be at the top of its game is Julia Robert.

Julia Robert have been bouncing around the Cape Town scene for around five years or so and have done a masterful job of harnessing their many influences over the years. Their synth-laced melodies, female-vocals, and stellar live shows have been garnering attention and support in the local scene. On their most recent release, the two-song “P.O.W./Eavesdrop” 7-inch, they have inched away from the thrashier pop of their previous releases (check out the incredible “Useless Junk” EP to hear some of that) but the new direction is definitely promising.

In a departure from some of their more angsty jammers, “P.O.W.” immediately establishes itself with a plodding pace and a more fuzzed-out new-wave vibe. The song captures bits and pieces of some of my favorite acts of the early 2000’s; Queens of the Stone Age, The Hives, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs but in a very “late-2010’s” kind of way.

Side B slows things down quite a bit more. “Eavesdrop” is a creeping lullaby with hits of psychedelia. It’s got a brooding feel with reverbed vocals and haunting melody. It works nicely.

7 inches and singles can be difficult ways to judge bands, but “P.O.W./ Eavesdrop” is a great example of the work the Julia Robert is capable of. As the band has only released EPs and singles thus far, it would be nice to one day get a full-length from them. But in the meantime, I’ll have to take what I can get.