Horribly appearing to have a mouthful of garden worms on the cover of this debut release, this Australian singer songwriter blends lovely sweet melodies with bold instinctive lyrics often aimed at men being arseholes. But like Liz Phair on Exit in Guyville the songs are both gorgeous and unique. Donnelly's voice has a lovely Australian twang to it which just adds to the magnificence.
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No wonder Matador spent good time re-issuing Liz Phair's 'Exit in Guyville' recently as there seems to be a direct lineage between that album and the current wave of singer songwriters who purvey a similar acoustic melancholy with no holds barred lyrical dexterity.
Perhaps the best of the lot is Stella Donnelly. The sleeve picture of her chowing down some noodles can't prepare you for both the quality of the songs and the mature reflections on womanhood. The standout is 'Boys Will Be Boys' both melodically brilliant but the lyric is a perfectly judged response to a friends sexual assault. It's an alarmingly timely yet understated #MeToo anthem a slow burning and horrifying tale that stops you in your tracks. Even better musically is opener 'Mechanical Bull' a lovely acoustic lament with the touch of the slower acoustic side of the Lemonheads. The EP has sweeter moments too like the lovely fingerpicked 'Grey' which shows a more romantic side of Donnelly's songwriting and the simple strum of 'A Poem' which has nods towards Tracey Thorn's beautiful 'A Distant Shore'.
Armed with just a guitar and a lovely voice, Donnelly has managed to create something unique and new here. You feel like are listening to the beginning of something. An empathetic, thoughtful songwriter who tempers anger with an ability to also see the beauty in the world.
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