Julia Shapiro: Perfect Version review – Stream-of-conscious diary of rediscovery

DIY effort sees Shapiro recentring herself following ill-health and a break-up

Perfect Version
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Artist: Julia Shapiro
Genre: Alternative
Label: Hardly Art

After three albums at the helm of Washington alt-pop band Chastity Belt, Julia Shapiro is striking out alone. Finding herself in the midst of an "existential crisis", battling poor health and in the midst of a break-up, she cancelled her band's last tour and returned home to Seattle to regroup.

The result is this album, a DIY musical effort to recentre her life and rediscover what makes her tick. As such, many of these songs read like diary entries, which is both a good and a bad thing.

At times, Shapiro’s lyric sheet seems too entangled in her own thoughts to make sense to an outsider; at others, it is an amusing stream-of-consciousness (“I woke up feeling sad, I should really delete my Instagram. What happens when we die?”) Musically, her dreamy, laidback voice gives songs like Harder to Do and the hazy Parking Lot an ethereal quality. Shape’s eerie canter recalls a 1980s horror B-movie, while Around the Block and I Lied sound like Dum Dum Girls meet Cocteau Twins.

It’s an album that slips into the background a little too easily, but fans of those two acts will appreciate Shapiro’s efforts.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times