Julianna Barwick’s Consciousness-Stretching “Will”

An album full of tantalizing possibility.

Julianna Barwick
Dead Oceans

Pitch Perfect PR

Seasoning her elaborate, wordless vocal overdubs with synths, cello, and even a little percussion, the Louisiana-bred, Brooklyn-based Barwick stays in an ethereal zone on Will, but adds enough variety to set this transfixing album apart from its dreamier predecessors. Moods range from hushed and reverent, evoking a visit to an ancient cathedral (“St. Apolonia”), to horror-movie eerie (“Nebula”), to atypically jumpy and uncertain (the almost-danceable “See, Know”), lending a tantalizing sense of possibility to what might be familiar ambient clichés in less-skilled hands. After these subtle tweaks, it’s easy to imagine Barwick incorporating all manner of unlikely elements into the mix without sacrificing her luminous aura, or covering (i.e., deconstructing) other people’s songs on future ventures. In the meantime, Will is a consciousness-stretching, invigorating experience.

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