Sometimes you get caught by surprise. “Relics” is, after all, a folk album by Julius Way, a band that I had never heard of. It would surely be the same old Aran sweater wearing song, wouldn’t it?
Well, no. “Relics” turned to be something of an oddity that relied little on the past, or indeed the present or the future, like so many of this band’s contemporaries and instead drifted into the ethereal. That’s not to say that Julius Way have gone all existential on us, more that through intention or accident, they have produced something ethereal and timeless that still remains remarkably personal. In fact, I would go so far as to describe this unrushed, unhurried album as spiritually uplifting and that’s not something I often say.
Matthew Adams has one of those voices that is far from perfect yet he always seems to fit right into each of these songs while Hannah Browning and Rebecca Baxter provide a most delicate vocal support that is not so much a harmony than a complementary balancing act. The result, however you may choose to analyse it, is aural pleasure with, in particular, “Belong”, “The Winter” and “Battle” simply sweeping you away.
In a time of overblown emotions, “Relics” is both a welcome change and a source of invigoration in that Julius Way have provided more than enough proof that it all boils down to caring about what you do and that's something that way too many bands have forgotten. Some might see that as an overly sentimental evaluation but the truth is, as always, what you believe it to be.
The album is available from Bandcamp.