ALBUM REVIEW: Lizzy Farrall – Bruise
Photo Credit: George Grivan
Recently, bands like Grayscale, Trophy Eyes and Neck Deep have all traded big pop-punk anthems for a more summery sound that doesn’t necessarily point to a certain quality, it’s more of a feeling – a warmth and danceability. And it’s not to say the subject matter of this new sound suddenly becomes trivial, it’s just presented differently – like heartbreak in sheep’s clothing.
Well, if these acts have joined the ranks of tropical sadness, Lizzy Farrall must be the General; tackling dysfunctional relationships, love bordering on obsession and heartbreak that makes you question your sanity by wrapping it in poppy, upbeat melodies.
Addict, for one, kicks the album off with an undeniable 80’s vibe that’s unafraid of planting one foot firmly in the pop realm while the other stomps to a rebellious beat in the alternative world. There’s a full arsenal of effects and synths, but they’re all used in moderation and in such a clever way that it doesn’t feel overproduced. The sound is so bright that it isn’t until you take a closer look that you realise the weight of the song as Farrall sings “Now I’ve been found, sirens calling-out, face-to-face with the barrel of a gun, say goodbye to my loved ones.”
Like Addict, Games, Knocked For A Six, Balloon and Barbados aren’t unfamiliar to fans, previously released on a five track EP earlier this year; predominantly showcasing the dance-along tracks Farrall has become a bit of a posterkid for. Only Knocked For A Six exposes the true vulnerability of her songwriting as all the flourishes are stripped back. Bruise puts more of a spotlight on this side of Farrall with tracks like Love No More and Okay, whilst also highlighting the warmth of her tone.
Knight Rider is another standout, featuring a vocal appearance from Emarosa’s Bradley Walden, whose lower register marries perfectly with Farrall’s voice as the two navigate the synths and steady beats. Of course, this isn’t her first vocal collaboration, having appeared on Cory Wells’ debut album, The Way We Are, last year.
Gas Lighting is the most challenging song on the album; with a definite RnB vibe that culminates in trap reminiscent choruses, it feels a little removed from the rest of the album at first, but with each listen, it becomes more part of it. It shows a different side to what is obviously an incredibly dimensional and talented songwriter.
Often discussing the significance of the white rabbit as a sort of other-worldly guiding symbol similar to that of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, the album also evokes the same false sense of whimsy. It might, upon first listen, sound cheerful like Mad Hatter’s tea party, but it’s when you start relating to Farrall’s inner demons that you face off against your very own Jabberwocky.
Bruise is a manifesto of an artist defiantly refusing to be pigeonholed by genre, blending pop, rock, electronic elements – and everything in between – together to present something so wholly out of the box that it can only be authentically Lizzy Farrall.
Standout Tracks: Addict, Barbados, Yellow Paint, Knight Rider
For Fans Of: Hot Milk, new Grayscale, new Emarosa
Written by: Renette van der Merwe