Julia Bardo – ‘Bauhaus, L’Appartamento’ review: serene, surging slowcore

The Italian-born, Manchester-based artist’s debut solo album explores her sense of self

With her 2020 releases ‘Phase’ and ‘The Raw EP’, Julia Bardo sought to find herself both through her sound, which ranges from raw indie to alt-pop, and her self-searching lyrics. Discovering her own voice has always been the end goal for this ambitious creative, be it through singing to herself in the toilets of her dad’s bar in Brescia, Italy or by consciously stepping away from being part of Working Men’s Club to forge a solo career.

On her 10-track debut, Bardo embraces the space afforded by a full-length release to deliver an intimate insight into the muddled thoughts she has on her own identity. After past releases left her feeling lost in a confused and messy world (she told The Forty Five: “It’s like [the ‘Phase’ EP] never came out and nobody still knows who I am”) Bardo is now comfortable enough to embrace who she is, the factors that define her and the expression this manifests.

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‘The Most’ kicks off ‘Bauhaus, L’Appartamento’ with a quivering indie-folk sound that’s pushed through Bardo’s own eccentric filter, starting the album soft and slow with a somewhat disjointed love song. A consistent soundscape soon emerges: the introduction of cutting guitars and rich basslines on following track ‘No Feeling’ begins that development and experimentation.

‘Love Out Of Control’ builds on the topic of adoration as Bardo equates lovesickness with homesickness, and these self-observant moments of writing shine brightest. When paired with driving percussion, soaring vocals and cleverly layered strings, she finds a sublime sonic coherence. Later, on ‘Impossible’, she declares: “It is your time to love me”. A spoken-word passage in Italian further embraces Bardo’s past while also continuing to move forward with purpose.

This record ultimately finds that the assigned goal of self-discovery is a process that cannot ever be fully resolved: it is in a journey, not a destination. While ‘Bauhaus, L’Appartamento’ may be a tentative step forward for Bardo, it is an indicator into how far along she is on that arduous road; next time we see her, she could be somewhere else entirely.

Details

Julia Bardo

  • Release date: September 10
  • Record label: Wichita Recordings
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