Phase is the four-track debut EP from Italian singer-songwriter Julia Bardo released this Friday via Wichita Recordings. Featuring recent singles I Wanna Feel Love and Please Don't Tell Me plus two brand new tracks, the EP showcases varied styles with Julia's exquisite vocals as the centrepiece.
Having revealed herself as a solo artist with her gorgeous debut Desire, there was an air of mystery of how Julia could develop a solo career of her own whilst her then band Working Men's Club were starting to take off. An amicable parting of ways came with her signing to Wichita and the release of I Wanna Feel Love and the announcement of the Phase EP.
Into Your Eyes kicks off the EP and immediately the warm, lush tones of Julia's voice draw you, its timeless quality could be placed anywhere in the past sixty years and feel fresh and of its time. The expressive nature of it is rich and adds gravitas to the words she sings - which float wistfully over the understated music as she reflects ruefully "I've never been so lonely."
Please Don't Tell Me possesses many of the same qualities but presents them in a different way. Vocals sit lower underneath the music and are in reflective mood talking of "watching shows on TV a night, watch them with me, spend a night here in my arms" before ending in a call and response with herself singing in two very different styles.
Lonely Morning starts with a guitar riff that runs through most of the song, Julia reflecting on the song's subject with their "head in the clouds, wondering if you're going to be found" with a vocal that's questioning the meaning of what goes on in life yet retains a positivity and soul.
I Wanna Feel Love is the EP's glorious farewell, Julia at her most direct as she sings "I Wanna Feel Love" with a world-weary optimism that conveys both hope and uncertainty as to whether it'll find her. As it reaches the breakdown, Julia breaks into her native Italian, and although we don't know what she's singing, the beauty of the Italian language makes the whole thing have an intensely personal sentiment and the chorus that comes back in even more uplifting.
Julia Bardo is on Facebook and Twitter. She plays London Annie Mac Presents at Shacklewell Arms (March 5), Leeds Headrow House (8), Manchester Yes (11), Derby The Venue (12), Liverpool Studio 2 (13), York Fulford Arms (14), London Pin Ups (19), Sheffield Delicious Clam (21) and Halifax Orange Box (28).