Chthonic (Keeled Scales)
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., April 14, 2017
Literal translation of chthonic is "subterranean," but its use in Greek deals with sacrifices made to deities in the looming underworld. A fitting title for Julia Lucille's dark, otherworldly third album, which sounds like it hangs in the balance between life and what comes after, both aching and hopeful. Nine tracks of feminine, swaying, and sometimes ambient folk imbued with some gentle reverb, Chthonic navigates easily from the straightforward (albeit foreboding) "Ariadne" and pedal-steel twang on the forlorn "I Don't Think I Can" to the eeriness of opener "Eternally" and sleepy, sanguine closer "Let's Climb up on the Car." The local singer's music is as much a visual and tactile experience as it is an auditory one. Its airy atmospherics conjure the pale light of early evening, wide open sky, country fields, misty bayous, and the smell of lavender, all fleshed out by layers of Lucille's dreamy, delicate vocals, and cooing "oohs" in the background. All told, it sounds less like a woman and more of wind chimes. Chthonic's a lush, immersive album that showcases Julia Lucille's mastery of painting a new, remarkable world solely with sonics.