Quintessential indie rock.
It has been a while since I’ve had an album that channels indie melancholy feel so effortlessly elegant and punchy at the same time. This is exactly where Eliza Shaddad has pitched her second album ‘The Woman You Want’. Using jangly guitars, chunky drums and great use of bass removal, Eliza makes each track feel like an emotional rollercoaster for very different reasons.
The title track is a perfect example of this as Eliza seems to balance up ideas on what is wanted and what she feels she can offer. Effortlessly switching from contemplative verses crammed with 90’s pop-rock nostalgia, the chorus hook removes the bass and lets a soft trickle of Eliza’s voice, guitars and light percussion overflow onto the listener. It is a clever switch up on the usual expectations that offers subtle hints of elegance and delicacy. Elsewhere tracks like ‘Waiting Game’ wash out in electro-drums and hazy guitars where Eliza’s vocals take an impassioned centre stage. The skipping beat and held riffs balance time and pensiveness beautifully too. ‘Tired of Trying’ is a personal favourite as its muffled drums and dreamy guitars feel like audio burnout – but gloriously done.
Elegance doesn’t have to be delicate though and Eliza Shaddad proves this time and time again. ‘Now You’re Alone’ feels like a dusty rodeo that channels powerful anger and regret for a situation with a real sting in its tail. ‘In The Morning (Grandmother Song)’ is a vast power ballad of soaring vocals and strings. That may sound delicate but the whole production has an electric razor roar to it that makes every yell heartbreaking to hear. Grief is a unique and universal experience and the climax of the track feels like an outpouring of emotions. Then you have the free and easy should-be radio smashes ‘Heaven’ and ‘Fire & Peachy’ that feel like quintessential alt-rock jams. Both have angsty lyrics that cut to the chase and tell you how it is. They sit up front, early in the album and set your expectations for one style of rock. Then over the next half hour, Eliza pulls different layers back to show you that emotions can be triggered and raw in plenty of other ways.
With each listen I get more and more out of ‘The Woman You Want’. It is a fantastic album that grows over time to reveal plenty of secrets and thoughts on life, grief, respect and self-introspection. The riffs are beautiful, the vocals are diverse and at times absolutely raging with passion and emotion too. Its mixture of pain and hope is palpable from track to track and at times, this feels like one of the most direct and easily accessible ‘deep dive’ albums I’ve come across in the last couple of years. This is the album I wanted. Superb.
Recommended track: Now You’re Alone
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