Upon returning to his hometown of Toronto from a final European tour with his band, Peter Dreimanis sat sweaty and half-drunk in a candlelit basement bar, nursing a drink, debating his next musical pursuit. Lulled in lethargy, he paid little attention to the beat-up acoustic guitar being passed from patron to patron around him; that was until it found its home in the hands of Leah Fay.
It took only seconds of strumming and dreamy, dulcet singing for Dreimanis to realize he’d met his muse. He sat listening, dumfounded, dreaming up ideas for what could come to be between the two of them. Clear-headed the next day, he started his search for the stranger from the bar with whom he seemingly shared a soul. He found her; they founded July Talk.
Despite their relatively young union, the primary pair behind July Talk has already established its own sonancy: a sound rooted in roots and Americana with the dual-voice charm of Johnny and June, the creepy quirkiness of Tom Waits, and the hooks of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s a very unique blend that borrows from different decades and domains, though where those influences begin and end is cleverly disguised.
Most special about a July Talk experience, though, is the foiling of Dreimanis and Fay as personas; who they are inside or outside of the public eye and just what it is that exists between them. Lyrically, the pair plays with the juxtaposition of gender roles and perspectives, distorting social preconceptions. It’s often a war waged between clashing personalities in a frame that shares two perspectives of the same relationship – at times conflicted, at times chaotic, most times just downright bewildering.
The opposition between the two forces is only heightened when the band brings its buzz-building show to the stage as both Fay and Dreimanis physically exercise their interpersonal demons via everything from bite marks to blown kisses. Even the line between spectator and spectacle blurs as some crowd members in themselves become a canvas for the art being produced onstage.
It’s a relationship full of extremes, both poetic and musical. The lyrics seem to skew an onlooker’s perspective of the ever-morphing relationship these two share. The sonic dynamics, on the other hand, are equally polarizing, from whiskey-whetted lyrics at the forefront of a few softly-strummed chords to a flurry of frantic shouting, overdriven guitars, and pulsating rhythms. The loudest louds, the most haunting quiets.
July Talk is currently at work on their debut LP, eyeing a fall 2012 release on White Girl Records. Should it contain even a fraction of the passion and in-your-face frenzy of one of the band’s performances, there’s no question it’ll capture ears and propel them to new plateaus in new places.
In the meantime, see them soon, because as their audience continues to expand, so too does the likelihood that they won’t remain a secret much longer. As the story of their origins only exemplifies, you really never know who might be listening at any given time.