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

Low Blows Meg Mac Sony As Mel­bourne songstress Megan McIn­er­ney, bet­ter known as Meg Mac, took to the stage in sup­port of Mum­ford & Sons at Syd­ney’s Do­main in late 2015, a young man in the crowd could be heard say­ing, “Damn, for a white girl she’s sure got soul.” On the re­lease of her highly an­tic­i­pated de­but al­bum al­most two years later, this state­ment could not ring more true. Low Blows oozes soul from top to toe. It’s dra­matic and punchy but not over­wrought, anx­ious yet pow­er­ful, sharp yet smooth. All of which high­lights how far the 27-year-old has come since win­ning Triple J’s Un­earthed Artist of the Year in 2014 with her im­pres­sive first two sin­gles, Known Bet­ter and Ev­ery Lie.

For the past three years, McIn­er­ney’s catchy mu­sic, quirky per­son­al­ity, hu­mil­ity and savvy so­cial me­dia pres­ence have earned her a wealth of in­dus­try and com­mu­nity sup­port. She even toured the US with Amer­i­can soul king D’An­gelo and was nom­i­nated in the best fe­male artist and break­through artist ARIA cat­e­gories in 2015, all be­fore re­leas­ing a ful­l­length al­bum. When she even­tu­ally de­cided to pro­duce an al­bum she en­listed the help of the team from Niles City Sound in Fort Worth, Texas, that worked on the highly suc­cess­ful Leon Bridges al­bum Com­ing Home, and what they have cre­ated is a slick and ma­ture de­but re­lease. The mea­sured song­writ­ing and at times com­plex rhyth­mic struc­tures re­flect the growth of an artist who has spent years per­fect­ing her craft. While the sonic land­scape of the al­bum lacks vari­a­tion, there are cap­ti­vat­ing melodies and com­pelling lyrics. At the heart of it all lies McIn­er­ney’s unique voice, a strik­ing, rich in­stru­ment with an in­trigu­ing nasal qual­ity that is given scope to shine on this re­lease. Kind­ness sounds like two songs in one, com­plete with ro­bust beat and de­fi­ant vo­cals, in­clud­ing a suite of har­monies. Didn’t Wanna Get So Low But I Had To and Maybe It’s My First Time are poignant, catchy tunes driven by pi­ano and sim­mer above that con­tin­u­ous soul­ful un­der­belly. The ti­tle track has a rous­ing cho­rus fit for a sin­ga­long, whereas Cages is a sub­dued, heart-on-the-sleeve bal­lad with mov­ing cho­rus: “Oc­to­ber, please be good to me.”

Shiny Bright is the most com­pelling tune of the al­bum, McIn­er­ney wail­ing beau­ti­fully above sparse pi­ano, ex­press­ing vul­ner­a­ble thoughts like “grow­ing up is get­ting harder to han­dle” and “I never re­ally thought about 40 years from now, ’cause every­body told me think here and now”.

At the al­bum pre­view in Syd­ney a few months ago, McIn­er­ney ex­plained that her time writ­ing in New York’s Brook­lyn was for­ma­tive. The aptly named Brook­lyn Apart­ment (It’s Louder Than the TV and the Ra­dio) re­counts her time there and the bustling lives go­ing on around her. When she spoke to the crowd be­tween songs she sounded ner­vous and shaky, but when singing she is clearly at home, re­veal­ing her soul for all to see and hear.

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