J. McFarlane Reality Guest: Ta Da (Vinyl LP)

J. McFarlane Reality Guest: Ta Da (Vinyl LP)

Night School

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Ta Da is the debut full length from J. McFarlane Reality Guest, the collective name for the trio headed by the eponymous Julia McFarlane. As a member of the group Twerps, McFarlane has traversed guitar-centric, melodic pop music for some years while honing a highly unique, personal musical language. This is the first recorded unveiling of her affecting, oblique songwriting panache, originally released in her native Australia on Hobbies Galore.Wheezing into view with a troubled reed instrument set against a series of whoozy synth lines, Human Tissue Act is a foggy curtain the listener is invited to peel back. The dissonant notes are left to dance entwined, with clarinet heralding a Harry Partch-esque mallet percussion interlude. It's a mood. With no resolution in sight, an audience dragged closer into uncertainty is suddenly drenched with the light of inter-weaving wah wah synth and saxophone. I Am A Toy introduces us to McFarlane's vocal, an effortless and matter-of-fact, accented statement that quietly takes the reins. While McFarlane's previous work in Twerps might reference '80s UK and antipodean guitar pop, Ta Da showcases different influences immersed in psychedelic music and synths. It's a brilliant, deft concoction swimming in Young Marble Giants-type minimalism, washed with bare pop and harmony similar to Kevin Ayers making sense of a Melbourne suburb, full of faces half-recognised in the blanching sun. Human Tissue Act, I Am a Toy, What Has He Bought, Do You Like What I'm Sayin'?, Alien Ceremony, Your Torturer, My Enemy, Heartburn, Where Are You My Love?