What does Repulsive Woman sound like?
Indie folk at its open-strum finest.
The review of Repulsive Woman – The Even Hand
There is a certain thread of indie folk that hails from Australia and New Zealand where delicate, often open-strummed acoustic guitar is paired with an incredibly delicate vocal. That doesn’t sound particularly unique but down under, they have a certain knack of making so much work with very little. Other parts of the world are busy cramming all kinds of sounds in. You don’t really get that as much with their brand of indie folk and they are happier to have a demo grizzle hiding in the background too.
Enter Repulsive Woman, aka Millie Lovelock, who whilst now residing in the UK, cut her musical chops in New Zealand. You can tell. Everything mentioned above is distilled into this four-track EP as a follow-up to her 2019 debut album. Each of the four tracks holds the same space. A melancholic, wistful and breezy feel that you could hear on indie folk radios from colleges and universities. Her voice is light, fluffy and unwilling to bellow at any point, so she floats around the edges of her music instead – haunting each song.
What I like most about this EP is how each song has a sizzle to it in the background. Whilst the main framework of all four tracks can be traced to very simple guitar strums, it’s the embellishments that really mark the songs apart from each other. ‘Bird Boned’ has ethereal synths and a celestial dulcimer hiding in the background in what is the standout track. There’s even a cinematic electric guitar that has the most minimal guitar solo I’ve heard in ages. ‘If This Is Bright’ surrounds the acoustic guitar with a bass riff and single electric guitar note frazzles in the verses before soft strings seep in for the final choruses. The instrumentation changes constantly but you’d barely notice it if you listened carelessly. ‘No Flowers’ and ‘137 Pages’ are lighter tracks, focusing on simple guitar work and lo-fi synth notes adding twinkles in the background. All four tracks follow a similar tempo which is unfortunate, as I think they’d stand out more in a more varied order or lineup.
That said, fans of minimal or subtle indie folk singer-songwriters would enjoy Repulsive Woman. I’m not entirely sure why she’s repulsive – her voice is angelic and fluffy! If you enjoy Australian, New Zealand, UK or French infused folk, I think you’ll find a gentle kindred spirit here. I call those countries out specifically as they have a specific style of folk music that feels breezy. Repulsive Woman fits that description perfectly.
Recommended track: Bird Bones
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