I'm going to list some names real quick. Cher. Lorde. Florence (of the 'and the Machine variety). That one lady from London Grammar. What do these women have in common you may ask me? Well, apart from being badass artists that take the music scene by storm every time they release literally anything, they all have big, moody distinctive vocals. You hear a Cher song and theres rarely any scrambling about to figure out who this alto goddess might be because her big moody voice is so distinctive!
I'm here to preemptively say that Paige Court AKA MANE is well onto her way to having her name on that list (not just my list which means very little in the grand scheme of the music world, but THAT list).
When the dark bubbly strains of Adelaide's MANE first reached my ears in 2018, it was thanks to my best friends boyfriend, who had boldly taken the aux on a group car ride and put on 'Chasing Butterflies'. Though I hadn't thought too much of his music taste before then (sorry Roman), this pick was his redemption.
'Chasing Butterflies' was a bop of epic proportions and after a string of singles, in 2020 MANE mercifully graced us with an EP titled Coping Mechanisms. Though this album seems to detail the ebb and flow of MANE working through hard things and follow the slow grind towards healing, that doesn't mean it's sad.
MANE has weaved her anxieties and woes and small victories into melodies that bounce and groove, with that perfect cocktail of gravity and levity that slithers through you ears into your heart, making you want to cry and dance at the same time. MANE takes your hand and leads you through a landscape of personal revelation whether you were planning to go there or not, edging open your own vulnerabilities and being extremely generous to share her own.
Personal highlights from the six-track EP include 'My People', 'Over and Over' (both singles released earlier this year) and 'In My Mind'.
'My People' is nothing short of an anthem. Dedicated to the importance of the relationships you have with your loved ones, MANE's rich voice serves as a unionising call for groups, allies and anyone you might consider 'your people'. At its heart, the song is a rallying cry and a sincere thank you.
'Over and Over' has been a strong feature in my Spotify library since its release. A song about renovation and personal metamorphosis underlined with a steady pulsing beat, 'Over and Over' is the ultimate 'starting over' song. The lyrics really say it all:
"I'm ripping up the bad vibes, flipping off the bad guys, they're always trying to get in the way / I'm taking on a new lease, trying to find my own peace, I'm shedding my skin today."
'In My Mind' is a bit of an anomaly on the EP. Wherein the rest of the songs have a tone of inspiring self-revival and forward facing pep, MANE is sort of flopping to the ground for a tired, lamenting wallow. 'In My Mind' is a stretched instrumentally-light ballad that deals with mental health and suffering under the weight of it.
"These bruises on my skin / Are only from within / And no I'm not the same / It's all in my mind, it's all in my mind / But physically I'm fine."
In her own words, this EP is a journey of navigating difficult things and the shining moments of joy and strength that glimpse out between them.
"It’s a reminder to myself and to anyone else going through something difficult that we all have the strength in us to overcome hard times and welcome personal growth," she said.
"I’ve always inherently felt things very deeply and fortunately for the better part of the last 10 years I’ve been able to have an outlet for that in my music - hence the EP title ‘Coping Mechanisms’.
"I’m so proud of this body of work and I can only hope that it can resonate and help those travelling through a similar chapter of their life.”