Hayley Mary has a gritty, soaring voice.
No stranger to captivating audiences as lead singer of The Jezabels, she’s delivered here a debut solo effort that feels as if, after a stint away from music, she’s back to writing pop that’s bold, enthralling and emotionally mature.
On title track and opener ‘The Piss, The Perfume’, Mary’s voice is at its best. She bellows “I heard you’re coming back to Sydney’’ with such a longing conviction that it guarantees the listener will be gripped for the EP’s runtime.
Songs like ‘Brat’ and ‘Like A Woman Should’ are driving, wonderful songs that hint to The Cranberries and Concrete Blonde, but what renders Mary’s songs as particularly striking is her play on hindsight.
She understands the all-too-romanticised tragedy of the female-fronted rock lineage of the early ‘90s that so evidently shapes her sound – her songs echo of desperate, exhausted songwriting where Mary knows how all those stories have ended, and wrestles with that inevitability for herself: “I wish I was born in the future… and walk the street like a woman should, like nobody was around.”
The EP is released appropriately through I OH YOU who have increasingly become the bedrock of a fervent Australian style of songwriting – driving, wall-of-sound rock that embodies emotional turmoil and coming of age.
The drawback for this release is that the material here feels like it ought to belong on a full-length. It’s a thrilling EP that plunges the listener into Mary’s world and pulls us back out just as quickly. It’ll leave you wanting more.