Hayley Tanzer is a musical force, the type of artist who storms through her career with guns blazing – guns that shoot technicolour laser beams. She’s a commander, wielding a vocal style that demands attention – the type of singer who would be equally comfortable soundtracking a Baz Luhrmann film as she would be fronting a Kate Bush cover band. Either one she would nail with absolute grandeur.
Four Love Songs is the new EP from Tanzer – a four-pillared collection of melodramatic pop music that is grand, cinematic and oddly romantic.
Tanzer is also a collaborator, working in conjunction with a slew of producers and engineers that each help capture the amorous, sensual nature of her artistic style. The latest of these collaborators is Angus Leslie – frontman of the wonderful Sex On Toast – who produced and arranged Tanzer’s brand new EP, Four Love Songs, which we have the pleasure of streaming today. Quite far removed from Leslie’s own creative endeavours, Four Love Songs is pure elegancy – the instrumentation quite sparse, merely acting as an elegant bed for Tanzer to lay on and croon away.
Tracks like Sleep and Johnny could very well be taken from the soundtrack for Moulin Rouge – slow, sultry and cinematic. That’s Why My Darling is a dark and epic hymn with Tanzer’s vocals soaring over apocalyptic drums and somber string arrangements. My Divine Only is dynamic and uneasy, whipping between different temperaments and dimensions.
While you stream the EP, have a read through Tanzer’s own notes about each track, then close your eyes and let her take you somewhere strange and beautiful.
All four of these songs address doomed ex-lovers in a highly melodramatic fashion – this one’s about a performer whose stage persona isn’t a patch on the delicious man behind the mask. Batman vs Bruce, if you like. My producer Angus Leslie weaved a magical Spectorian spell over this arrangement, listen out for guitar through a vocoder, glorious glock, a righteous choir, horns, Hammond and Angus’s mum on castanets.
2. My Divine Only
A bittersweet ode to a lover about to be dumped for someone way less wonderful. Self-loathing, uneasy, awful – and all underpinned by a tumbling, nimble bass line.
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My favourite. A mellotron-led lullaby about fighting in bed all night, inspired by Badalamenti, the Brothers Walker and Everly, and some awful nightmares.
4. That’s Why Darling
My smoky epic to almost-requited love that you can (almost) dance to. A bit of a stalker anthem in retrospect – if I’d actually retraced their steps as the song suggests I’d be in a lot of trouble.
You can catch Tanzer launching Four Love Songs with guests Sugar Fed Leopards, Karen From Finance, The Huxleys, Benjamin Hancock, James Andrews, Dandrogyny and Sex On Toast DJs, Saturday May 28, The Toff in Town, Melbourne. Get your tickets here.