Reigning supreme over the land of sunny beaches, bad mullets and bedroom pop, Australian-born Tash Sultana has stepped foot back in chart-covering territory with their latest album, ‘Terra Firma’. This record should, perhaps, nod to all of the 25-year-old’s predecessors in the form of Erykah Badu, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and the likes, but Tash has found a sound that is so unapologetically theirs.
Three years since their debut record, ‘Terra Firma’ offers a much more nuanced and settled approach to Tash’ ridiculously enormous musical palette, where their first album acted as a mismatch of a not-quite-yet figured out style.
Previously released tracks ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘Sweet & Dandy’ sit framed by this albums relentless bill of addictive tunes. ‘Pretty Lady’ is a triumph, a clear highlight on the 14-track record providing a catchy riff irrefutable of a boogie in the sun with your pals post-pandemic.
‘Musk’, the album’s opening track, needlessly demonstrates the one-person-band that Tash has bewilderingly figured out – layers and layers of instrumentals all self-taught by the artist, apparently accounting for 25 different instruments they can play having picked up the guitar at age three. Foggy falsetto vocals seeped in sugary sweet lyricism and guitar wizardry with as much reverb as any ‘70s psych-rock tune, Tash’ undeniable instrumental chemistry this time sound like all the best bits of their debut, but condensed.
The second half of the album breaks into an echo of lower-tempo ballads with possibly one too many similar-sounding tracks, those like ‘Dream My Life Away’ and ‘Coma’ offering a stripped-back version of something that Tash can easily provide; acoustic renditions reminiscent of their days busking around Melbourne.
“If looks could kill, I’d be dead…” Tash opens on their penultimate track, ‘Let The Light In’. Arguably the best display of Tash’ outrageous vocal range, the album curates its own colossal finish with two strong tracks each worthy of a Billboard-topping slot.
Easy listening, bubbly, psych-pop-come-soul-come-funk and perhaps every other genre you could conjure up, Tash Sultana has come a long way from ‘Flow State’. Their sound hasn’t evolved but simply bettered itself, and as per usual, finds its way around an extensive (and slightly absurd) range of instruments.
Words: Gemma Ross
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