Although not exactly a household name at this moment in time - in Blighty at least – Sydney-dwelling singer-songwriter Holly Throsby may well be a name on many a lip before the cold days of winter subside.
Throsby is already held in great esteem by the likes of Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, and Under The Town should see her emerge from their shadows and into a spotlight of her own. If there's any justice, anyhow.
As long players go, Under The Town has an addictive quality about it that ensures the listener can’t let it go. Call it aural superglue if you like, but this really does demand attention, right from the word go.
Not that it's loud in a_ RARRRRRHHHHH! sense, you understand; it’s moving, sensual and so unknowingly deceptive that after just two plays - that's _two - you're singing every word back at your iPod, stereo or, in my case, work colleagues and, after they've cleared off unimpressed with my attempt at a vocal performance, a blank computer screen.
You see, what makes this album pretty special is that Throsby can make the most simplistic glare of indifference seem like the most interesting observation in the world. Like I-Spy-With-My-Little-Eye set to music, or painting pictures with notes and quavers, Under The Town is a breath of fresh air that won't need an inhaler or ten-minute break outside in the cold.
So 'The Shoulders And Bends', with its wry observations of "Driving at night… rabbits they run out..." or "Horses are running... shooting past us like stars...", will probably make you roll your eyes skyward in a ‘so what?’ manner until the meaning of the song hits home that this is about crap drivers showing no regard for wildlife. I kid you not. Don't care? Well, you should do.
Then there’s the gorgeous 'What Becomes Of Us', which seems to view the final embers of a floundering affair with a combination of cryptic ripostes ("There is dust under the rug... and I don't ever know, what's below...what's below") and blatant innuendos ("I have a new love, and it's warm like a gun... or a knife that I fell on") that mother would no doubt blush at for weeks.
Elsewhere, 'I Worry Very Well' is paranoia from a hilltop and 'Making A Fire' is the most distressing ode to missing someone you care about these ears have heard in a long time.
Across all ten tracks Throsby displays a level of subtlety and regard for detail that’s very rare amongst the current crop of solo artists currently spinning their yarns for all the world to hear.
With Under The Town I guarantee – whatever your mood – that for half an hour at least you'll go to places you only dreamt of and wish you could stay there forever and a day. Now where's that repeat button...
8Dom Gourlay's Score