Julie & the Wolf present Ablaze, a somber, minimal examination of emotional devastation that compacts sixteen tracks into 43 minutes. The debut album showcases Merzbacher’s robust yet emotive vocals atop Julie’s solemn, fragile pianos and bleak, heart-wrenching strings. It fuses Merzbacher’s metal background with Julie’s classical training to achieve a sound previously unheard in modern music. Merzbacher’s often contemplative and broken vocals recall heart-on-sleeve balladry, but he’s also unafraid to apply the gripping shout of his metal days and bark his devastation with full emotional candor. While Merzbacher lays his barest feelings front-and-center, Julie’s unsettling piano melodies ground his weight in a more accessible soundscape, resulting in the most universally enjoyable and sonically novel work either musician has committed to record.