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

Girl­hood The Prea­tures UMA Aussie pop rockers the Prea­tures’ sec­ond al­bum is un­mis­tak­ably Syd­ney.

The songs on Girl­hood con­tain sto­ries and sounds so closely en­twined with the NSW cap­i­tal you can al­most feel the late-night thrum of New­town’s King Street or the fresh sea spray of Bondi Beach em­a­nat­ing from the tunes.

The 11-track al­bum is all about grow­ing up in the city as a young girl, and charts the com­plex­i­ties, thrills and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of life as a mod­ern Syd­ney woman.

It’s a sonic mem­oir for lead vo­cal­ist and co-writer Is­abella “Izzi” Man­fredi, who lays bare her soul, par­tic­u­larly on soft con­tem­pla­tive bal­lads Your Fan and Cherry Ripe.

It has been three tu­mul­tuous years since the re­lease of the band’s stel­lar de­but Blue Planet Eyes. When Girl­hood was be­gin­ning to take shape in Jan­uary last year, gui­taristvo­cal­ist Gideon Bensen left the band and then drum­mer Luke Dav­i­son slipped a disc in his back, putting the band out of ac­tion for months.

But that ex­tra time has al­lowed the re­sult­ing sopho­more re­lease to be wellmea­sured and mas­ter­fully con­structed.

Pro­ducer and gui­tarist Jack Mof­fitt, drum­mer Dav­i­son and bassist Thomas Cham­pion cre­ate an in­fec­tious en­ergy, and LA mix­ing en­gi­neer Bob Clear­moun­tain, (Bruce Spring­steen, the Divinyls, Crowded House), ex­pertly com­pletes the slick pro­duc­tion.

Opener and first sin­gle Girl­hood is un­doubt­edly a high­light, a catchy vin­tage rock an­them that lyri­cally ref­er­ences SleaterKin­ney’s mem­oir Hunger Makes Me a Mod­ern Girl, com­plete with a puls­ing tempo and su­perb gui­tar solo.

Mess It Up and Nite Machine in­ject some of the soul groove rem­i­nis­cent of the group’s pop­u­lar 2013 track Is This How You Feel? and give scope to Man­fredi’s im­pres­sive vo­cals.

As well as son­i­cally re­flect­ing the city she grew up in, Man­fredi uses Girl­hood to ex­plore her cul­tural roots, hav­ing be­ing born to an Ital­ian father and Bri­tish-Aus­tralian mother on Gadi­gal land.

“I write songs to un­der­stand my­self,” Man­fredi said in the lead-up to the al­bum’s launch. “Un­der­stand­ing and re­spect­ing those his­to­ries is part of who I am. I’m try­ing to find some har­mony in the con­trasts.”

Man­fredi sings in Ital­ian on al­bum closer Some­thing New, a mel­low track about the time she spent $7000 on clothes in Las Ve­gas in a “streak of mad­ness”.

Stun­ning track Yanada, which means “moon” in the in­dige­nous Dharug lan­guage of Syd­ney, was writ­ten in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Darug woman Jac­inta Tobin to re­flect the in­dige­nous her­itage of the re­gion.

The re­sult is a com­pelling ode to Syd­ney and in par­tic­u­lar the girls who grow up within its com­plex web of bustling streets and vi­brant sub­ur­bia.

Girl­hood is not only a ru­mi­na­tion on the pieces of child­hood we take with us as we get older, but the frag­ments of the city we grow up in that we carry with us no mat­ter where we go for the rest of our lives.

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