released: 2016-07-08 )
Where is this generation's "In Your Eyes"? Our "Come Talk To Me"? You know, that song to blast as we passionately, earnestly raise the boombox high over our heads outside our beloved's window at twilight. It's been a while since we had one of those songs -- something expansive and elegant; big-pop that feels personal and tender. Let us humbly offer the music of Sydney's Gordi -- 22-year-old Sophie Payten. Her debut EP, Clever Disguise, gets at it both ways -- massive and personal music that doesn't concede an inch of artistic vision.
Raised in the small, farming community of Canowindra in South Wales, amongst a minuscule population of 2381, Payten learned to play piano and guitar in her house -- with Billy Joel on near-constant rotation. She left the rural life in her late-teens to pursue a medical education in Sydney. The dichotomy of those environments -- the pastoral and the modern -- is surely a guiding influence in Gordi's music. Earthy, wistful folk songs are cloaked in delicate-but-bold electronic production. And what an effortlessly flooring voice to carry it all, at once fractured and brimming with richness. These are songs you could hear bouncing through the alleyways of the city as much as you could hear them rolling across the fields.
First single, "Can We Work It Out" has the big, worldly drums of those aforementioned Peter Gabriel classics and a towering, multi-layered vocal chorus that will instantaneously sear itself into your musical memory. The soft gallop and airy melody of opener "Nothing's As It Seems" feels like bittersweet sunset of a four-day weekend on the water. Moments in the EP may recall the early albums of Beth Orton, but more storming and redesigned for the stadiums, festivals and amphitheaters of the 21st Century. Clever Disguise was created with producer Ben McCarthy (Megan Washington), with additional production from Alex Somers (Sigur Ros) and Francois Tetaz (Gotye). ʇ