After years of hiding behind various band names, Tanya Donnelly has
finally gone solo. The singer who served her apprenticeship with the
Throwing Muses and the first incarnation of the Breeders, who made a
break for personal acclaim with Belly has cut loose from the safety-net
of a band to give us her own personal vision of music.
A good thing it is too, this is a great album. The main difference
between this and her previous stuff, Belly’s last album "King"
in particular, is that she sounds happy, really happy. This is most
likely due to her recent nuptuals, and, although the lyrical content
may seem insecure and doubting, you can hear a smirk beaming through.
The opening track bubbles over with lyrics that sound like a big
argument - "Do I look like a liar to you" is the first line -
but she sings it so sweetly. "Landspeed Song" alternately
bristles and pleads, it’s a wishful warning that she’s suffered, but
wants and needs a certain person. The song is perfect US indie-pop with
a dash of Queen’s "Bicycle Race" for good measure.
"Mysteries of the Unexplained" is the Belliest track on
"Lovesongs...", a slow dreamy song about a sad song, maybe.
"Lantern", on the other hand, stomps and grinds with Tanya’s
vocals ranging from a low growl to a child-like tone. "Acrobat"
is quiet and acoustic, before "Breathe Around You" bursts in
with a sassy, sexy, bluesy roar in both vocals and music.
"Goat Girl" is light and breezy with a very strange set of
lyrics - "I ended up with a man who wanted a gazelle, but I am a
goat girl". Probably makes sense to her. The final song is
"Swoon" is a final testament to insecurity, yet also a
testament to her wish to survive. It seems that if ‘he’ tries to set
her on fire, her hips and lips will get her out through the green door
and home. Right.
All in all, this is a perfect piece of indie-pop and the product of a
very strange, but endearing, mind. The disc ends abruptly with the line
"I’ve got it made". If Tanya Donnelly keeps producing stuff
of this quality, then she sure does.
by Donnacha DeLong