Darcy Kate is a woman of many talents and a songstress of many genres. This Sunshine Coast gem seamlessly blends country, folk, blues, hints of gospel and drops of pop to create songs to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. She can bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in stress. Her soothing tones can put a balm on any weary heart, with a song for each and every hurdle. Today she releases her debut record ‘The Wanderer’
Starting off strong, the first track is 'Blue Cascade.' Musically we get a nod to Jeff Buckley's 'Lover You Should Have Come Over,' both vocally & sonically, fused with a smatter of Cigarettes After Sex X Mazzy Star and a country twang. These soaring gospel notes are laid over drawl guitar with some super sneaky subtle piano strokes at all the right moments. True to the name, the layers tumble and build into a crescendo of rich emotion and howls on the guitar, before the tide turns and the waves recede as fast as they came.
Second out the gates is 'Dorothy.' A Saddle Club ditty and a total country bop with a Shania Twang (Twain). The song runs on the rail tracks of a classic simple chord progression, but this is not a bad thing: It is a song about comfort. Homesick & adventure tear at the listener and we hear the fork between road and home.
Number 3 is a striking track of piano and soaring soul voice. 'Georgia Rose' is ear-catchingly different from the preceding tracks, featuring equal elements of fever, progression and build. This foot tapper grows and growls and isn't the last time we hear from Daddy on this album. A sultry song that will have you humming 'till the cows come home, 'Georgia Rose' is the smoking distant cigarette you see through the darkness of a rainy night.
Next comes a track with purest highs on the vocals, 'Goodbye.' Musically, a Christmas ode to George Michaels, this song alternates between thin, vulnerable sections and upbeat doot-doot textures. For some reason it has the superhuman ability of getting 'Last Christmas' by Wham! in your head when you're washing your hair in the shower. Seriously. You've been warned. No follicles can be cleaned during the listening of this surprisingly sweet song of heartbreak and the memories left behind.
Track 5 finally whips out the folk in all its glory. A girl & her guitar, 'Hold' gives you your daily dose of goodwill in your coffee. This catchy toe-twitcher has the power to bring colour to even the dreariest day. This album is all about journeys, and the crescendo choral chorus ending will take you to a place that was happier than when it began.
Onto the B-side of the record, and it starts spinning with the needle on 'Last Train to Frankston.' Acoustic to hitchhike down a long and a lonesome road greets you, with steamy violin shrills to guide you. This song is dynamic. It radiates propulsion. You can see the yellowed grass and dried out hills fly past the dusty train window as your hurl down the line.
Song number 7 is a reminiscent piece and really exemplifies Darcy Kate's expert storytelling. Encompassing themes of family, nostalgia & coming of age, you cannot help but feel deep compassion for the protagonist and think back on your own better days. I was surprised by the chorus ending, and was wondering how the song would tie together, but it's all right there, neatly wrapped. This is another track which tugs at the heartstrings, but has the odd effect of bringing a big goofy smile to your face by the end. Darcy Kate can warm hearts three sizes too small.
The next track is 'Runaway,' and it's my personal pick of the album. It's a slow burner, but once the drums start thumping, you know what's up. I actually really like this song, and first heard it when I was researching Darcy Kate for a previous review. I know my mum got into it after I put her onto it, and I can't help but come back to it whenever I'm dreaming of a good sort high up on the range. From Toowoomba to Tamworth, this one breaks hearts and brings them together. The true goosebump igniter is the guitar bridge with Darcy's trademark roaring croons flying overhead.
Number nine comes 'Songbird,' a track we've reviewed before. It features fragile acoustic and tender voice. The song is served raw, with a sprig of empathy for sweetness. You think it's over, and then the violin enters the ring. This penultimate track is the calm before the storm, with birdsong vocals and delicate guitar-string nest.
Finally we get the title track, 'Wanderer.' This scouring lovesong features 'Under the Bridge' jangly guitar riffs and intersects all the wanderlust of the album. Grab your Driza-Bone and swag, because this one's for lovers and starlight. The drum entrance is when it really gets swaying, with big notes - be it rich & deep or high & slithering melisma. Darcy Kate is a silhouetted crooner on the road, with the sunset on her back and the world before her.
Will she ever find her wanderer? Until then, she's got a holster at her side and dust on her heels. Her footprints come and her footprints go. But she'll always be out there. A woman and her guitar.