Listen once and images of raging inter-world wars and swelling storms come to mind, soundtracked ominously by stirring synthesisers, the voice of a jewel-laden deity and beats that threaten to break the dance floor in half.
Listen again and 'Raiders', the new single from Melbourne fantasy-pop singer and songwriter Owl Eyes -- the project of scarily talented 20-year-old Brooke Addamo -- offers up something else entirely: the innermost fears and hopes of a young woman trying to figure it all out. The daydream of a girl watching from the sidelines, wondering when she'll get the chance to step up and show 'em what she's got. The relatable longing of anyone struggling with internal or external pressures -- still set, of course, to a thrilling explosion of pop with a chorus that won't quit.
It's the slowly peeling layers of Addamo's songs, as well as that voice that seems to be coming from somewhere above the clouds, that has seen Owl Eyes stealthily make her way onto the radars of radio listeners and those who've found themselves chasing lights in inner-city live dens in recent times, not to mention crowds at summer festivals such as Pyramid Rock and Hot BBQ.
Following her official introduction to Australia via the chorus of breakout hip-hop star Illy's 'It Can Wait', Owl Eyes went on release her own Faces EP in September last year. The EP, and its hypnotising single '1+1', which quickly won the hearts of triple j programmers, hinted at a fascinating new voice in Australian music. Addamo, it seemed, had the ability to pen enveloping, self-contained tales -- evocative little daydreams -- that spoke also to coming-of-age desires and insecurities like few other songstresses of her ilk.
'Raiders' makes good on that promise and hints again at what Owl Eyes is capable of in the future. Certainly, with a honed focus on spacious synths and orchestral flourishes, there's a universe of production and live possibilities around the corner.
In recording 'Raiders', Addamo again stepped into the Fitzroy studio of Faces collaborator Jan Skubiszewski (of the band Jackson Jackson), whose name has also become one of the most often dropped when talk turns to the new wave of production stars. Having searched far and wide for a likeminded studio partner early in her songwriting for Owl Eyes, Addamo struck on a rare musical bond with Skubiszewski. The pair ended up creating the five songs for Faces in a five-day cram session.
"I think I like working with Jan because he gets me and he just knows what I want," Addamo considers of their apparent chemistry. "And also he's crazy talented. He's pretty much a genius in his own right." Of recording 'Raiders', she adds, "Jan loves big, fat bass and synths of course because he works with that in Jackson Jackson, so he was in heaven."
The genesis of 'Raiders' lies in the pair's earliest songwriting experimentations, Addamo reveals, but was tucked away when her lyrics weren't connecting with its aurora-shining dance floor draw. Addamo carried the song around in her head for months before her imagination went to work and pieced together a suitable narrative for the music.
"Definitely when I listen to music I create little stories in my head," Addamo smiles of her writing process. "Hopefully people can relate and do that to my music, too. Hopefully when they're listening to their iPods and listening to my songs they can create their own stories and go off on their own little tangents -- and not just from what I'm saying in the song or the artwork. Hopefully it's the starting point for their own creativity."
Something tells us we're only just beginning to uncover the magical mystery of Owl Eyes, but 'Raiders' is as bright and shimmering a clue as they come.
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