Tania Bowers, operating under the nom de plume T. Wilds, has just released the album ‘Ten Songs’: a deceptively simple and unadorned collection of the sweetest sounds imaginable. This is an album that sparkles with life and vitality and shimmers with an innate glow. Bowers has the most distinctive vocal style: a relatively low register, delicate and emotive that has a quiet, almost whispered, diction imbued with a certain fragility. This vulnerability evokes singers like Nico: there is a certain dissociative, observational approach leavened by a mysticism and magical aura. Bowers capacity for evocative story telling recalls shades of Nick Cave.
The recordings are crisp and unburnished – accompanied by fellow Blue Mountains resident Matt Toohey – and often involving simple acoustic strumming, the odd piano tinkle, a percussive patter and distant weeping of strings. In some tracks, Toohey and others provides a vocal foil, either in a call and response form such as ‘Wounded Knee’ (with its lilting pace), in soft and delicate harmonies (‘I Swim’ or ‘Say It’) or a duet in ‘Goodbye’ – an imaginary tale of possible Bonnie and Clyde duo, that camaraderie that exists in outlaw and adventure – where Toohey shares part of the lead vocals.
Bowers weaves delicate threads in her songs – ‘With You’ with its backing vocalisations and layered vocals has a deep romanticism that folds in and out of the strings and plucking guitars.
‘Curious Moon’, a single, is a mesmerising ethereal track that seems to float on air, with Bowers’s voice an enchanting softly billowing cloud infused with an air of longing and melancholy, released with an absolutely transfixing video that managed to encapsulate the beauty and the grace of the song with a gorgeously shot, cinematic portrayal of dance, magic and movement.
‘Curious Moon’ has a dreamy hypnotising quality about it: Bowers’s voice is haunting, other wordly and the instrumentation (guitars by Toohey and drums by Joe Dews) reflective, restrained and shimmering. Bowers says of the track:
When I was writing ‘Curious Moon’ in my kitchen one day I knew it would be a special song. I was
imagining two people on an adventure escaping from reality to a dream-like Donnie Darko film and soundscape.
It is a special song indeed.
Penultimate track ‘St Cecilia’ starts with a spoken child’s voice, recalling the earlier mysticism and innocent wonder of ‘Curious Moon’. Bowers says of ‘St Cecilia’:
St Cecilia is about a creative drought. Life logistics like jobs and raising a family make it much harder to be creative or take creativity seriously, more than a hobby, and the part of growing up Catholic that I enjoyed was the cult-like collecting of Saint cards, I knew them all at one point. St Cecilia is the patron saint of the arts, so it’s about her sleeping or waking over us.
Indeed, in tracks like ‘What To Do’, there is an air of wide-eyed wonderment, infused with an air of melancholy.
The album ends with ‘Wind in the Valley’ – a soft, reflective track that has a spiritual, gospel feel about it: like some song of the enslaved yearning for redemption and a better world.
‘Ten Songs’ is a gorgeous infusion of sweet yearnings wrapped in a magical and mystical cloak. Bowers’s gentle musings are evocative and thrilling: the sounds crystalline, delicate and yet antithetically draped over a steely spine. This is an album full of an inherent grace, poised and shimmering.
Out through Cheersquad Records and Tapes, you can order ‘Ten Songs’ below on CD, limited edition translucent red 180gr vinyl, black 180gr vinyl and digital.
T. Wilds will be launching the album at a special event in October – tickets available here and details below.