I can’t deny my adulation of New Zealand’s Fazerdaze (the project of Amelia Murray) ever since the release of the album ‘Morningside’ on one of my favourite labels, Flying Nun Records back in 2017. I wrote at the time that ‘Morningside’
…reminded (me) of The Jesus and Mary Chain in the album’s delivery – sweet soft melodies skimming over the surface of a muscular beat. There is a shoegaze element to Fazerdaze – think of Lush or My Bloody Valentine – but delivered in a softer package. As with Lorde, the lyrics seem to reflect the personal experiences of Murray, giving them a sense of immediacy and poignancy.
There was a well documented break after that album’s global reception and Fazerdaze returned triumphantly with the EP ‘Break!’ last year and a new single ‘Bigger’ earlier this year ahead of a global tour. In an unbelievable stroke of luck for me, a visit to Sydney coincided with an announcement that Fazerdaze was supporting DMA’s in their hometown gig. There’s no greater joy and excitement than the anticipation of seeing one of your favourite artists live for the first time, a joy that is only properly completely fulfilled when the artists meets every expectation. And Fazerdaze did just that.
As a support, of course, the time was limited. The set list only included one song from ‘Morningside’, the delicious and hyperactive pop of ‘Lucky Girl’ with the other tracks coming from the comeback EP ‘Break!’ (although ‘Little Uneasy’ was on the set list I don’t recall it being played). The scope of the set list was quite appropriate – in a sense ‘Break!’ was, as the title suggests, a break from the past and part of Fazerdaze’s renewal, rebirth or renaissance and it is fitting that this focussed the music.
I noted in my review of ‘Break!’ that a corresponding harder edge has developed, with a resonance that is a little more world weary and worn from the vicissitudes of life. Live, this translated in a driving energy and palpable thrum reflecting the resilience and empowerment of the artist.
And yet still the delivery was intimate, despite the cavernous venue: Murray’s demeanour was warm and self-effacing, the band enthusiastic and giving – a great camaraderie was visible on stage. The band had only just played an afternoon set in Wollongong’s Yours and Owls Festival a couple of hours before travelling to Sydney for the gig – you couldn’t tell.
‘Come Apart’ was a fitting opening – just Murray singing before the band kicks in with the song’s shouty anthemic delivery before ‘Break!’ muscled its way in with its half spoken swaggering attitude. One unfamiliar track was played – ‘Cherry Pie’.
The most recent single, ‘Bigger’, symbolises for me the growing air of confidence and creativity in Murray’s writing: it prowled with a burning intensity on the night.
The band was brilliant – the guitarist a flurry of rock postures and flailing hair adding a hyperkinetic energy to the songs, with delicate harmonies and a barbed-wire buzz from the band as a whole. Indeed closing track from ‘Break!’ and the last song played, ‘Thick of the Honey’ positively thundered with its raking riffs.
A gig that was over too soon.
Thick of the Honey
Make sure you catch Fazerdaze (in solo mode) in her UK/European tour.
Feature Photograph and Gallery: Arun Kendall