The music of Melbourne’s Tanya-Lee Davies has a sixties beehive velvet blush about it – a sort of Dusty Springfield/Nancy Sinatra slow waltz to something powered by Burt Bacharach or Jimmy Webb, with a touch of self-deprecating antipodean humour. Her album ‘Dreamland’ is a wonderful collection of wry, bittersweet tunes that are infused with a biting wit and slavish devotion to exquisite, delicate melodies.
Opening track ‘Collector’, for example, has a velvet smooth, crystalline delivery with a twinkle in the eye as she sings:
I’m a collector and I collect things
Like handsome men and diamond rings
The guitars are like crystal shards and celestial harmonies range in the ether, with Davies’s voice tinged with a country twang. This alt country twang is injected into a few tracks – ‘Love Town’ with its delicate shuffle and melancholic air, the reverberated sharpened guitars in ‘Same Spell’. The pedal guitars in ‘Winter’s Knocking’ and ‘Love Letter’ create a sleepy air underwriting Davies’s vocals that evoke Kirsty McColl with her sense of delicious irony:
Winter’s knocking at my door, I don’t know how it found me
I changed my address, and what’s more
I never answer when anybody knocks anymore
‘Bless You’ prowls with a sensuous intent, entrapping you with an enticing Mata Hari shimmer and a circular transfixing riff.
I’ve got my mojo, I’m going to cast a spell,
my powers are deeper than a wishing well,
when the light fades when the moon’s in view
I’ll take my holy water and I’ll bless you
The accompanying video is just as mesmerising and contains footage from London, Warsaw, Barcelona, California, Poland, South Africa and Bali edited by Tanya-Lee Davies:
Davies’s voice is suffuse with melancholy and regret in ‘Broken Song’ and the achingly beautiful ‘Don’t Bite The Apple’: recalling the delicate and yet powerful Dusty Springfield, while ‘Kiss Someone’ has the sparkle and glitter of The Ronettes with its melodic power and stature.
‘I’d Be A Rich Girl’ veers into a dreamy dream pop land, hazy and hypnotic while the accordion framed final track ‘Only A Breath Apart’ has a Jacques Brel theatrical drama about it.
The entire album evokes a sense of a cozy cocktail bar lounge, replete with red velvet curtains and a deep sense of longing. All delivered with an arched eyebrow. The gentle guitars and understated rhythms serve the delicious vocals which deliver wry, wistful stories of love, longing and loss. Davies says the songs were percolating for a while in the haze of Melbourne’s sabbatical during the long lockdowns.
You can get the album through the link below and all the usual download/streaming sites: