Mikaela Davis – Delivery

There’s a spectacular blend of genres on ‘Delivery’.
Label: Rounder Records
Released: 13th July 2018
Rating: ★★★★

You’d be forgiven for thinking Mikaela Davis’ music is some easy listening, best suited for Sunday mornings and long walks. There’s a whimsical quality to it – she’s a harpist, after all – the strings and piano float on top of the songs, along with oohs and aahs, provided by The Staves.

But it has grit too. When the chorus of the title track hits, Mikaela shows us what she’s really got. Her airy vocals take on a raspy quality, as she belts out the lyrics over a suddenly more brash melody. The track takes a surprising turn, as does the album when ‘Get Gone’ kicks in, and it’s a Black Keys-esque garage-y number.

There’s a spectacular blend of genres on ‘Delivery’. With influences ranging from modern folk (‘Emily’, ‘In My Groove’) and Americana (‘Get Gone’, ‘Other Lover’) to ‘Mirage’-era Fleetwood Mac (‘Do You Wanna Be Mine?’), and a generous helping of chamber pop, Davis digs her own genre hole. The contrast between the fuzzy guitars and crisp harps only mimic the wispiness and texture of her own voice.

John Congleton’s stamp is all over it, too. After working on Angel Olsen’s ‘Phases’ and Alvvays’ ‘Antisocialites’, those same crackly, muffled vocals, guitars and keyboards are there. At times, the production doesn’t need to as lo-fi as it is, not that it takes away from the music, but it’d be nice to hear a vocal that isn’t deliberately muffled.

In little over half an hour, Davis secures her place in amongst 2018’s new wave of female rockers; sliding in next to Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy and Phoebe Bridgers. “Don’t doubt me,” Mikaela sings on closing track ‘Pure Divine’. You shouldn’t.

Abigail Firth

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