Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Some songs emanate the specific sort of magic that elicits such a strong transportive mental image that you have to reason with yourself for a second or two and say "no, there likely isn't any witchcraft or ritualistic spell casting going on here". The Lumineers probably didn’t use some sort of black magic to manifest your corporeal form to a grungy rest stop on the side of the highway, brushing your teeth with your finger as you watch the sunrise when producing their 2016 hit ‘Sleep on the Floor’. ABBA likely didn’t sit chanting in Latin to have us transported to a smoky club floor wearing flared everything and spinning dizzily, awash in pastel 70’s light that was ever so groovy baby when writing 'Dancing Queen' (maybe they did, but the odds stand against it). Danika Smith’s recent release and sophomore single ‘Sweet Mellow D’ falls under similar qualms.
As the folksy track progresses, you find your conscious tugged onto the helm of an ornate Nordic sea vessel, staring boldly out at the horizon, fur capes rippling behind you, searching for your lost love amongst the distant islands as the boat slices cleanly through the icy waters and your crewmen softly hum shanties.
Smith’s lilting voice floats silkily amid a complex instrumental soundscape, artfully skirting amongst the rattling percussion, resonating guitar twangs and sparkling tinkles that bob about like proverbial icebergs. Her honied airy tone is interspersed with haunted, piercing siren-esque cries that emanate from somewhere in the distance.
Though the track is hugely atmospheric, the lyrics are written purposefully and with a raw sort of honesty. Smith sings of feeling darkly uncomfortable, ‘swollen with severe discontent’, a feeling only relieved by the appearance of a special person and connecting intimately with the particular vibes they put out, their sweet melody.
Frankly (and embarrassingly enough), it wasn’t until maybe the third straight repeat of the track did I realise Smith had pulled the old switcheroo and the song title 'Sweet Mellow D' was blatantly an enunciation of the choral mainstay - “sweet melody” (f*cking duh).
Smith details her chain of emotion behind the song, sourcing it as coming from a place of resilience built over tenderness.
“Sweet Mellow D feels like a song of recognition of my personal growth. I believe we all have to go on a journey of healing within our lifetime. One of unlearning and relearning, in order to truly know ourselves and to live a life that is fulfilling and meaningful. ‘I feel like I’m only starting to know myself now’. The day this song was inspired, I was sitting there with the nylon on my lap, and I felt mellow and content. I thought about those swirling years of pain and confusion in contrast to the peace, and so I put it into song, with deep gratitude to the power of music,” says Smith.
Though she has fixed herself as a staple of the Melbourne music scene, collaborating with local artists and performing alongside them at the city's iconic venues, Danika Smith has not yet graced us with a full record. However ‘Sweet Mellow D’ and her 2019 single ‘Suit of Armour’ are reportedly lifts from this debut album which seems likely to be released into the world sometime 2021, a body of work that Smith says is six years in the making. We can't wait to see where she takes us next.