The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

Sta­dium Cake Oh Pep! Barely Dressed/In­er­tia Olivia Hally and Pepita Em­merichs are well schooled in myr­iad mu­si­cal forms, dat­ing back to 2009 when they met at the Vic­to­rian Col­lege of the Arts Sec­ondary School in Mel­bourne. Jazz was singer and gui­tarist Hally’s bag, while vi­olin and man­dolin player Em­merichs pur­sued a clas­si­cal education. The duo has come a long way since then, via a stint in blue­grass/coun­try, be­fore ar­riv­ing at a more pop-ori­ented ap­proach to song­writ­ing and per­form­ing. This is the 24year-olds’ de­but al­bum, af­ter three well re­ceived EPs, and it’s a joy­ous col­lec­tion that mar­ries folkie tex­tures to some glo­ri­ously hummable hooks. The Race is a glow­ing ex­am­ple, with Hally rip­ping through a wordy lyric set against a bouncy back­drop of bass, drums and gui­tar, plus plucked vi­olin from Em­merichs, who also adds com­pelling har­monies: “Oh my good­ness here comes his high­ness / fol­lowed by my friend the air host­ess / who knows the mostest about his big jet plane / fly­ing him home again over the moun­tain.” Equally in­fec­tious is the fol­low­ing Seven Ba­bies, which flits be­tween 12-bar blues and a jaunty pop shuf­fle. Doctor Doctor and the open­ing Bush­wick are acous­tic pop ear­worms. There’s a more som­bre tone to Tea, Milk & Honey and the clos­ing Af­ter­wards, am­bi­ent and acous­tic bal­lads re­spec­tively that al­low the sub­tle, se­duc­tive tex­tures of Hally’s voice to shine. Once or twice the spec­tre of another fe­male duo, Swe­den’s First Aid Kit, saun­ters into view, par­tic­u­larly on Want­ing and Trou­ble Now, but that de­tracts lit­tle from Oh Pep!’s de­light­ful folk/pop agenda.

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