The gang at FReeZACentral, a government initiative involving a mentoring program for those new to the music industry, has bottled up a surge of girl power. They’ve recorded a diverse array of tracks to introduce some little-known but talented female artists to our welcoming ears, alongside some more familiar names.
Opening with the driving Clare Bowditch track, The Start Of War, the second edition of the Naked In The Woods compilation is off to an enjoyable start. Her voice, used not only to convey the lyrics but as another instrument, is melodic and emotive as always, largely the reason why she is a popular artist in the Australian music scene.
Courtney Barnett is a less well-known name but her song Anonymous Club is an evenly matched follow-up to Bowditch’s. After a long introduction, her rustic voice sings of drinking wine, sharing a meal and other simple life pleasures. The Little Stevies’ Come To Miss You is a poignant tale of someone special leaving. Its simple, folkish melodies are secondary to the lyrics and the easily relatable story they tell in waifish, feminine harmonies.
Mck’s Don’t Go is a surprising contrast to the folk/roots theme of the album enjoyed so far. Typical of the pop song it is, it’s a highly produced story of love and loss. Thankfully, it’s followed by my favourite track on the album, Loving Hating It, by Angie Hart. It’s a quaint, sparsely orchestrated song mentioning the need for love and other rather girly realisms. Of course, this album is ultimately a garish display of 21st century feminism.
However, that does present its problems. Overly sentimental, reflective, slow, acoustic songs dominate the album. All of these songs are well written and beautifully orchestrated, but I’m glad they’re punctuated by the above-mentioned standouts.
All in all, the initiative shown by FReeZACentral to record these developing artists and give them the kick-start they need is successful. I for one will keenly follow the careers of many of them, as I am proud that the quality of new Australian music is second to none.