Ridiculously talented Perth singer/songwriter Felicity Groom is perhaps best known for the fantastic single “Finders & Keepers” that came last year, and the highly creative video that accompanied it. That single, together with the Treasures EP of 2009 heralded the arrival of a major new talent on the Australian landscape.
Having been picked up and promoted as part of triple j Unearthed and, along the way, impressing many artists such as Paul Dempsey and Tim Rogers, who have specifically requested her as a support act on tour, Gossamer sees that sense of talent bloom to a truly wonderful degree on this stunning debut from Groom.
This is one of those artists that it is impossible to pigeonhole and shoehorn in regards to what has inspired her on a musical front. One can hear everything from classic and highly individual and iclonocast 1960’s female singers such as Vashti Bunyan and Laura Nylo right through to the like of Nick Cave and even world music elements within what she does, such as on the utterly beguiling “Building A House.”
The album, co-produced by Groom, has an excellent production to it that empahsise the wide and varied musical influence that has informed her as an artist. However, this is no paint by numbers, ‘oooh, look at my record collection’ approach. There is a beautifully natural and organic sound to Groom’s work that is captured beautifully on her debut album. This is the sound of an artist truly moving to the beat of her own drum, irrespective of both what has influenced her and current trends in music.
Groom also possess a truly haunting voice. Like some of the best voices, it hits the listener on a deeply visceral and emotional level. Words completely fail to describe that smoky, sultry and beautifully haunting quality that Groom has as a singer.
Songs like the aforementioned single from last year, the utterly sublime “You Come Along”, “John Edmund Shea” and “Siren Song” both consolidate and confirm the woozy, dreamlike quality that Gossamer has to it, recalling late 1980’s/early 1990’s bands such as Mazzy Star, but never in a derivative way. Groom truly makes what she does her own, which is definitely to be embraced and commended.
This is a very high compliment, but Gossamer, like Kate Bush’s debut, The Kick Inside, sees Felicity Groom arrive beautifully and fully formed in regards to her sense of musical vision. Proving to also be an incredibly talented player of guitar, keyboards and autoharp, this debut album is very much the vision of one woman, unafraid to go where her sense of inspiration takes her. This is a truly beautiful example of an artist taking their influences and what has inspired them and truly making it their own.
This is one of those beautiful albums where one is best not to know too much before their first listen. This scribe could talk until he is blue in the face as to why this is such a great album. Simply pick it up, put it in and let it unfold before you.
This is a late highlight of the musical landscape that has been 2011. This is a truly wonderful and enriching listening experience, with which the listen will be more than likely utterly besotted.
– Neil Evans