Pop/rock

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Emily Ritchie

A Suit­able Girl Ali Barter In­er­tia “What’s a woman meant to look like?” It’s a poignant ques­tion posed by Mel­bourne song­writer Ali Barter and it cuts straight to the beat­ing fem­i­nist heart of her su­perb de­but, A Suit­able Girl. A woman, we dis­cover, is meant to look how­ever she wants. Wrapped in a whirring grunge/pop sound­scape, Barter’s lyrics offer a raw and un­apolo­getic in­sight into the com­pet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of young women, while also mak­ing un­canny, mun­dane ev­ery­day ob­ser­va­tions. The ti­tle is in­spired by Vikram Seth’s novel A Suit­able Boy, one of the long­est nov­els pub­lished in English, which Barter in­verts in gen­der, form and length. In 11 tracks Barter can­vasses heart­break, in­tox­i­ca­tion, the naivety of youth, com­ing of age and the jour­ney to self­ac­cep­tance as a young woman in the 21st cen­tury. A for­mer choir girl and Triple J Un­earthed win­ner, Barter knows how to pack a punch with her sweet yet as­sertive vo­cals. Her voice soars like fel­low Aussie rocker Katy Steele’s. A Suit­able Girl is made co­he­sive with solid pro­duc­tion from Barter’s hus­band Os­car Daw­son from Holy Holy. First sin­gle Girlie Bits is a riot gr­rrl ral­ly­ing cry, en­veloped in dy­namic pop rock a la No Doubt or Veruca Salt. Ci­garette sways grace­fully against the rat­tling gui­tars and Live with You whirrs with swathing guitar and echo­ing vo­cals. Far Away crescen­dos in grungy cries, Delilah hums with spa­cious strums and Tokyo melts ten­derly, ex­pos­ing Barter at her most vul­ner­a­ble. Walk/Talk closes the al­bum with a stri­dent beat and catchy cho­rus, a suit­able end to A Suit­able Girl.

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