T’was the night before Christmas – and all through our house – the creatures were indeed stirring – cos the blazing guitar sounds of France’s Juliette Jade Valduriez were ripping round the rockbrat walls ! Yes folks, I was not expecting the magic of Christmas to bring forth a rock n roll miracle like this – but indeed it did. A loyal Rockbrat reader alerted me to the fact that Juliette (an artist who has generated immense interest on YouTube – before then vanishing) had recently resurfaced ! But not only is Juliette back – she’s got a whole album’s worth or original material out and about ! Fantastique !
It’s no secret that we are fans of Juliette – in fact the previous blog posts we’ve penned about her still generate heavy stats. Before penning this review I re-watched some of her YouTube videos to get in the zone. Man, the tone and feel she has whilst wailing away on her solo’s still captivate me. I reckon it’s that tone and natural flair Valduriez has which is what had me hooked first time round. Make an effort to search our her videos on YouTube. Her take on Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – viewed by millions by the way, always earns top marks, whilst her interpretation of Jake E. Lee’s fret work on Ozzy’s ‘Bark At The Moon’, just plain rocks.
I am not gonna speculate why Juliette – (now known as Juliette Jade) went AWOL. The fact that she is back and has finally released an album’s worth of original material – is all that matters. Released in late December – the digital-only album ‘Terrarium’ – is a gathering of 11 home demos which displays her vast musical talent. ‘Allegory’ is the album opener – no hidden meaning here folks – just one very solid sounding track with a very distinguishable Valduriez (ooops Jade) sounding guitar solo at 1.30 – which damn-well brought a smile to my face. She really is back !
The slower paced ‘Room 7’ again has that Juliette-signature guitar sound all over it – no complaints here. Yet I gotta confess – after solely viewing her guitar playing online – it’s actually her pleasant sounding vocals which I am finding surprising ! Mellow, at times haunting – at times a little reminiscent of Lori Carson – very nice. Love it love it love it.
Diadème could be my favourite track on the album. Sung solely in French – it’s hauntingly beautiful with Jade’s appealing vocals and tasteful guitar solo – the key ingredients here. Wow. Straight-down-the-line rock n roll is gonna win me over every time – which is why the tunes ‘Hélicoptère’ and the frenzied ‘Frozen Time’ – clocking in at a Ramones-like 2.18 gets the thumbs up from me. I dig it. The bar-chord heaviness of Hélicoptère would be great in the live environment, and contains some of Valduriez’ most potent soloing. ‘Killer’, for me is another album highlight with some powerful lyrics – and another blazing guitar solo. It’s captivating as it is eerie and ‘Killer’ is indeed something special – jostling with Diadème or ‘Hélicoptère’ as my choice album cut.
This girl can shred with the best of em – we know that – but if you are looking for an album’s worth of shredding, look elsewhere. Yes, the guitar work is etched all over the album, but it is far classier than your average guitar rock record and you will be pleasantly surprised. I’d go so far to say that ‘Terrarium’ is an album which sounds better and better upon each listen and is a remarkable debut. One omission here is ‘Lost Paradise’ – one of Juliette’s original YouTube recordings which did not make the cut – shame, as it’s had over two million views online and is stellar. Maybe if she gets picked up my a major, or large independent label – it can be included later. It’s too good a song to remain unreleased.
Final words on this review are courtesy of Rockbrat Reader Eddie_Lyons who – when summarizing Terrarium on Juliette’s bandcamp page – accurately concludes…it’s ‘a powerhouse of guitar-driven introversion, peppered with signature Valduriez solos. A perfect blend of lyrics with a haunting voice. An album that wouldn’t be out of place in a collection of the best of the late ’70s and early ’80s. A worthy debut, and worth the long, long wait! Bravo! Too difficult to choose a favourite from a quality collection’.
Folks this is a stunning – long-awaited debut which does not disappoint. I have once again put in an interview request which will hopefully come to fruition. Terrarium set me back 7 EUR and you can get it from https://juliettejade.bandcamp.com/
It is high time more people were made aware of one of France’s best kept secrets.