Shyness, the latest record from Sydney-based artist Angie, is a soothing and subdued change of pace from her two previous guitar-heavy albums.
It’s a record that draws immense resonance with it’s title, the stripped back, piano-based songs leaving it reserved and more modest than the artist has ever been.
Angie has said goodbye to the fuzz on Shyness, a bare bones, elegant change in direction for one artist who refuses to be pigeonholed.
The album differs drastically from 2013’s Turning and 2015’s Free Agent, with Angie diving into more inaccessible territory and pushing her lyrics front and centre. But however different it may be, Shyness still manages to leave patches of Angie’s authentic sound cultivated on her initial outputs, scattered around the place, her phased-out and reverb-infused vocals still prominent and alive.
The sparse A Ring launches the album off, its gradual pace easing listeners into the record’s measured character. From the first track it becomes evident that nothing on Shyness has been rushed or forced.
The free flowing and elegant improvisations on D and On Being Blue make for a refreshing break and act as a barrier between the more textured and dense songs on the album. The piano’s intensity and lavishness throughout the record entirely compensates for the intentional lack of body and texture in the songs.
The album is centred around feelings and spaces; the small moments, sounds, familiarity and place. The subject of the songs is portrayed in the instrumentation, each track having its own little quirks while feeling spacious.
While intimate though, the album shows no sign of vulnerability. Angie writes songs that are mysterious but she’s careful not to dive too deep, leaving them rich with detail. She has a quiet, careful and contained approach with her songwriting which is endlessly captivating to listen to.
Shyness provides few answers to any looming questions you may have had about Angie. It’s not here to assist your understanding of her as an artist, but to add layers of complexity to her.
The record leaves you hanging in the unknown, but where you would usually become uncomfortable, you feel strangely secure within a web of unresolved questions. It feels like we’ve instilled enough faith in Angie after three full-length albums to trust that wherever she goes from here, it will be satisfying and intriguing.
Angie has used Shyness as a vehicle to prove her songs don’t need coats of fuzzy guitars and pounding drums to be pleasurable. They stand just as strong on their own.
Shyness is out now.[bandcamp width=700 height=373 album=658285879 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=333333 artwork=small]
You can catch Angie live at the end of May. See the dates below for details: