Last month we had the honour to premiere the single ‘The Excavator’ from Melbourne artist Anna Smyrk which showcased her gorgeous vocals and bright pop style.
Smyrk has now released the EP ‘The Hour Between Us’ which cements her reputation as a significant songwriter with an exceptional voice. This is a collection of vibrant pop gems, backed by a thundering instrumentation, inherent romanticism and Smyrk’s golden vocals that can move effortlessly from soft velvet soothing to steely spined powerage.
Opening track ‘Human Condition’ couples incisive observational lyrics with melodies that are more expansive than a desert horizon. An indelible anthemic tone results in a stadium filling pop song that thrubs with euphoria. This vibrant pop is continued in ‘You Break it, You Bought It’ with its story-telling folkloric style.
‘The Excavator’ is a folk-tinged indie rock anthem that starts off with a slow burning fuse before sparking into an intense and dynamic anthem. The thundering, pounding rhythm section provides a beating pulse while Smyrk’s voice is passionate and delicate as she sings of the deeply personal and moving topic of loss. Smyrk explains:
‘The Excavator’ is about watching someone go through grief. Seeing them literally hit rock bottom – down low, in the dark, clearing out the basement of the house they grew up in. The subject matter is kind of heavy, but it was one of the most fun songs to record. We wanted to capture the different faces of grief. Sometimes it’s understated and brooding, like the song’s verses, and sometimes it just explodes out of nowhere and floors you, which is what we tried to do with those big choruses.
The repeated line of please come up for air speaks volumes about the times we live in and the often unspoken need for help when all around is dark, delivered in a carriage of pure orchestral, anthemic indie rock that brings to mind artists like Sharon Van Etten. There is a vibrancy and vitality that is indelible, served with a rousing pop sensibility.
‘Song from the 36th Floor’ gently eases on the brakes with a chiming acoustic guitar beat and Smyrk’s vocals angelic and yearning while filled with an incandescent power.
The weeping strings of ‘Daylight Savings’ bring in a degree more power and wattage from Smyrk and the anthemic sweep is just as ever-present. Sing-along choruses and Smyrk’s gorgeous lyrics define the strength of the song.
The EP ends with the reflective ‘Wallace Street’ – Smyrk’s Australian vernacular and accent burnish the slow burning fuse of a track that has a Velvet Underground simplicity and a Mazzy Star brilliance shining from Smyrk’s evocative delivery.
‘The Hour Between Us’ is a powerful Ep: filled with deep romanticism and emotions, unveiling delightfully raw stories delivered by Smyrk’s searing vocals that reveal endearing complexities, strength and warmth, intimacy and expansiveness. A true delight.
You can stream or download the EP here or get directly from the artist through the link below:
Smyrk spent about five years living in Cambodia and then the Solomon Islands. In pre-COVID times, she split her time between her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and her adopted city,
Manila, Philippines, where she works as a consultant for the World Health Organization.
She’s currently juggling releasing new music with supporting the COVID-19 vaccine roll out in
Papua New Guinea. With this impressive CV, it is no wonder Smyrk’s music is so transcendent and universal.
Feature Photograph: Giulia McGauran