Tanya Donelly and Natalie Imbruglia had a love child.
Tanaya Harper released her second EP ‘Slow Motion Breakup’ last week and since it was on that Bandcamp day, this little gem may have fallen between many pop-rockers cracks. Tanaya continues the tradition of excellent Australian female rockers who can make catchy tunes without losing their integrity and depth.
There is a lot in common between Tanaya Harper and a rocker with a similar namesake – Tanya Donelly. I started adding the ‘Sounds like…’ tag at the start of reviews to encourage more readers to get a feel for unknown artists in a broad stroke. The interplay between Tanya Donelly’s country-rock vibes and Natalie Imbruglia’s vocal delivery is exactly pitch-perfect to describe Tanaya’s work, it is almost uncanny. After the swimmy atmospheric titular opening track, ‘Crash Pad’ and ‘Don’t Go Outside’ embody this sound exactly. The guitar drives forward with heavy twangs and evokes Donelly’s heavier solo works. Both tracks are tightly woven and are would be radio hits on the right stations.
‘Sleep Talker’ is a swaying acoustic band effort. It is here in the softer sounds that Tanaya Harper sounds uncannily like Natalie Imbruglia – particularly in the oohs and aahs at the end of choruses. The track itself is warm and gentle and contrasts excellently with the vibrant drive of ‘Even Keele’. This is the heaviest track on the EP and the most anthemic. Harper knows when to restrain her voice and let the lead guitar to do the talking and it picks the best of late 90’s pop-rock and showcases Harper’s penchant for catchy chords. The EP closes with ‘Shit Talker’ which merges that spaghetti western rock I associate with Throwing Muses with bubblegum pop vocal delivery. The two opposites mesh well and it provides a gentle punkish finale to the EP.
It took two years for Tanaya Harper to move from her debut EP to ‘Slow Motion Breakup’. The wait was definitely worth it. Each track offers a different slant on Tanaya’s work whilst feeling cohesive and fully fleshed out. There are hints of some really kick-ass anthems waiting to break cover too so should Harper look at making an LP next, I think we’re in for a treat.