PREMIERE: Angharad Drake gets a little dark on Water

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Angharad Drake. The young Brisbane folk singer released her last EP Swing about a year ago. It was a contemplative body of work; gentle, tender and rich with melodies of heartbreak. For those who are familiar with Drake’s work there is a humility to her which is quite magnetic, her stories all that more engaging because of that. So it’s with eagerness that we’ve been waiting to see what she’d do next, and today we finally get to hear Water.

Angharad Drake Water

Brisbane folk singer Angharad Drake switches things up on the dark yet intimate Water. Her clear, tender vox and passionate lyrics are once again dynamite.

Redemption is a funny thing. It stems from both guilt and a need to rectify wrongs. It’s not a theme that is usually prevalent in Drake’s work, but looking at the lyrics closely it’s clear she has moved her songwriting past simply lamenting the past to acknowledging what it takes to build a better future. That’s not the first thing that strikes you on hearing Water though. The sound is completely new for Drake. Her music up until this point has been steeped in folk, nothing more than an acoustic guitar, dulcimer and sparse percussion.

This time around the electric guitar feature heavily, the steady plucking a thread which the song follows. The percussion is also more pronounced compared to what we’ve heard before. It pulses darkly throughout the track then fades during the bridge, before crashing back in the crescendo. It’s not often that a groove like this would be the thing to drive what is still essentially a folk song, and it’s a key element that gives Water such an interesting character to examine.

But the lyrics, it’s Drake’s lyrics and sweet vocal delivery that is time and again her greatest gift. her imagery is always quite intimate, her music a musing on personal relationships and how they are always subject to change. Whereas the lyrics used on Swing were quite personal, Water feels far more conceptual. “I know time will have his way with me but we’ll all get got eventually” is a striking line. It’s a little sinister in its wordplay, even a little apathetic which may be a little unnerving considering her past imagery of love and healing. But it works.

What Drake has here is a much more mature take on relationships. No one side is at fault or feeling heartbreak. It’s a story of both parties going through the motions, looking for an imaginary devil to shoulder the blame. It’s exciting to see young artists like this push their lyrics and music to a new level and we can only hope to hear more like this from her soon.