Monday, 27 June 2011

Record Review - Tracy McNeil

Fire From Burning
Vitamin Records

In 2007, Canadian Tracy McNeil released her debut solo record, Room Where She Lives and then three days later, relocated to Melbourne.  She brought the record with her of course, and it garnered a small amount of community radio play, not really raising too much of a blip on the extensive radar that busily covers the Melbourne music scene.  Not long after this though, the following year, McNeil teamed up with Jordie Lane to form Fireside Bellows, releasing the sublime No Time To Die the same year, and her name began to spread.

Now then, three years later and with a swag of touring under her belt, we have McNeil’s second solo record, Fire From Burning, a record which has been some time in the making and a record which sees some distinct differences to how you’d have heard McNeil in the past.  Room Where She Lives and No Time To Die were heavily drenched in that quiet country sound, lilting and wispy, pulling on heartstrings whilst stroking heads by firesides, whereas this new record is muscular and robust, it’s McNeil taking the same thread, but bulking it out and injecting a bit of rock in there, and this is a fine thing indeed.

The title track is a fine example of this, a song that rolls and tumbles with a finely executed, and quite raucous, guitar solo in the middle courtesy of Matt Green (who also plays with Lane), a song which coming as it does almost right at the beginning of the record, heralds something slightly out of the box for this budding and extremely talented artist.  The rest of the album closes in around the title track, some slower numbers, some faster, but all to a tee stout and full of bravado and wisdom, a fantastic record from a musician only moving upward.

Samuel J. Fell

(published in Inpress Magazine (Melb), 1st June '11)

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