written by Chris Familton
Melodie Nelson is the pseudonym of Sydney’s Lia Tsamoglou and her latest project after spending time with Moonmilk and Rand and Holland. The name is presumably taken from the Serge Gainsbourg album History de Melody Nelson and the mood of Meditations on the Sun is definitely an album rooted in past styles. Tsamoglou has concocted a shimmering sway of a record that takes in the bittersweet melancholy of girl groups from the 60s, 90s Mazzy Star narcotic drone and a consistently seductive cinematic mood.
Her voice possesses more of a croon or whisper than anything else and it is the defining element that makes the album work cohesively. Hers is a strong and sexy tone that draws the listener into her music without becoming overly cute or at the expense of strong melody. Colours Of My Dreams rises and falls delightfully while Orpheus, She’s Gone has hooks of the highest order over a marching rhythm and tremolo-laden guitars. The centre-piece and highlight of the album is Johnny, with its surf guitar on half speed, drum machine and ‘so bored, I’m cool’ vocals. It isn’t a stretch to put the song up as a female counterpoint to Suicide’s song of the same name. The title track is the darkest moment – all blissed out funereal pacing, perpetually droning organ and a haunting singing saw that combine to feel like a warm floating dream sequence from a David Lynch film. The flip side to all this doom is the positively bouncy duet Bovine Blues that has that classic twee pop feel akin to She & Him.
Meditations on the Sun deserves widespread attention for its stellar production, astute songwriting and some wonderfully rich singing and musicianship. Tsamoglou astutely restates the case that less is more and when executed as well as this the results are mesmerising.
this review was first published in Drum Media (Sydney)