Australian Julia Stone first captured our ears as the sister-half of the brother and sister duo Angus & Julia Stone. Together they’ve released critically acclaimed albums like Down The Way, Memories Of An Old Friend and Heart Full Of Wine. But they’ve never been mere critics’ darlings. On the contrary, the prolific duo has amassed themselves a very large and impressive fan base during the past several years. They’ve also taken the time to work on solo albums. I was personally blown away by Julia’s first solo release, The Memory Machine. It had a smoother and more upbeat sound than her work with her brother. It was also more of a folk pop album than the folk/blues music she’d done with him. Her second album, By The Horns, proved to be in that folk/blues vein but not without a hint of pop, which pleased those who’d fallen in love with The Memory Machine.
“Justine” is taken from By The Horns, though it’s a new single mix that appears on this three track single. To that end, the new mix really doesn’t differ from the original version very much. It’s nearly a minute shorter and feels more focused but it’s not a radical remix. Basically, it seems to have more backing vocals and a clearer bass guitar sound, giving it a slightly more pop feel while it still remains a folk song at heart. If I must compare it to other artists I would say it’s Lykke Li meets Sarah Blasko. Lykke Li because of the organic beats and the way Julia sings the line “I wanna live with you in California” over and over. That said, I can’t name a specific Lykke Li song that it resembles, but it definitely sounds like something that could have been on her second album, Wounded Rhymes. As for Sarah Blasko, well, her accent is in the same vein as Julia’s, both being Australians, and Sarah’s indie pop is not very far removed from what Julia does with “Justine.”
The first B-side, “Love Is A Show,” is a very different song for Julia. While it’s still folk, it also has elements of pop and electronica, almost sounding like something off of Bjork’s Debut album. And it’s easily more in the vein of The Memory Machine than By The Horns.
The second B-side is a cover of the Marvin Gaye standard “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” That’s right — Julia goes Motown. Sort of. You see, she keeps much of the song’s original melody, but it’s performed folk/country style with simple percussion and acoustic guitars. A very subtle, relaxed version of the classic. If you liked the cover of “You’re The One That I Want” that she did with Angus then you’re in for a real treat here.