sorted magazine - issue 4

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Tanya Donelly - Lovesongs for Underdogs. [image: album cover]
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