Holly Throsby - Under the Town

This is outing number two for Holly Throsby and it has a richer and more filled-out feel than her previous long player - ‘On Night'. Throsby's singer-songwriter stylings are fleshed out here with strings and brass, however, she manages to incorporate these additional elements without sounding over-produced and without losing the rawness and simplicity of her songs. Some of the credit for this must go to Tony Dupé's string arrangements.


Holly's voice is delicate and fragile, but it always sits comfortably at the front of the mix while the string arrangements, for the most part, nestle in the background – complimenting the mood of each song and leaving enough space in the mix for the vocals to take the focus (see, for example, ‘If We Go Easy' and ‘Shoulders and Bends').


Holly's delicate, sensual croon carries you through some intense lyrical and thematic territory – new love, longing, heartbreak, loss and even suicidal tendencies. Rather than telling stories, the lyrics tend to express, or capture, moods and moments through vivid imagery and metaphors. For example, ‘Building a Fire' (the current single that is catching some good airplay on JJJ) captures the simple pleasure of spending a cold winter night in front of a warm fire while ‘Shoulders and Bends' uses a drive in the country and the wildlife spotted along the way as metaphors for the journey and trials of a relationship.


If you take the time to look into the lyrics further and you'll be rewarded with some beautiful moments. ‘On Longing' is a prime example - on my first listen (while a little bit distracted) it seemed to be a pretty simple love song based around an I-stuffed-up-but-I-still-love-you kind of premise. Subsequent listens, however, revealed darker elements and references to suicide that seemed out of place with the song's generally hopeful feel. A check of the lyrics and a closer listen revealed the song to be about longing (surprisingly) and hope for a true love yet to be found and the pain and sadness experienced throughout the wait – it's touching stuff.


While the album treads through some dark territory it is also splattered with a sense of innocence and playfulness – both lyrically (in songs like ‘I Worry Very Well' and ‘Come Visit') and musically (most notably in ‘Building a Fire' where raggedy kitchen utensil sounding percussion opens the song and a choir of Holly's friends join in for a relatively rowdy finale)


There seems to be an endless source of female singer-songwriters hawking their wares at the moment. But with her deft lyrical touch and delicate song writing skills Holly Throsby has set her self up amongst the leaders of the current (crowded) pack.

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