Australian singer/songwriter Bertie Blackman first shot to fame back in 2004 with her debut folk-inspired acoustic album Headway. Since then the talented performer has continued to alter her sound with each new record she produces which brings us to her latest project The Dash. The Dash is Blackman’s fifth studio album and by far her most digitally influenced work to date, filled with futuristic vibes and electronic sounds the album shows a fun new approach from the ever evolving artist.
To help explore these new sounds Blackman gathered a bunch of co-writers for the album including some familiar names such as Julian Hamilton (The Presets), Louis Schoorl (Daniel Johns, 360) and John Castle (Josh Pyke, Vance Joy) just to name a few. In a recent statement Blackman explained that she “wants people to go and have fun with this record and experience life to it in the moment”. Whilst this is definitely evident in some tracks, others lack the same consistency and tend to fall into a stale mode.
The opening track Run for Your Life which is also the album’s first single is a cruisy piece that gets the ball rolling, featuring soft vocals from Blackman over a somewhat futuristic beat. Up next is Kingdom of Alone, a feel good melody that will have you bopping your head with its uplifting vibes and sharp crashing drums that create what is sure to be a crowd favourite. Make sure you have your dancing shoes close by as the fun really kicks off with Dancing into Trouble, one of the album’s more exciting tracks that highlights Blackman’s fun new approach. Beams slows things down a bit however; it still carries a groovy vibe that will keep your feet moving till its final beat.
As we move into the second half of the album things start to become a bit monotonous, tracks like Minute By Minute and Tear It Down fail to uphold the exciting vibes created by the opening tracks of the album whilst Darker Days creates a somber tone with its melancholy beat and sorrowful lyrics about memories from a past relationship. The album ends with a radio edit of Kingdom of Alone however; this version feels tiresome and does not compare to the uniqueness of the original.
Overall The Dish is a well made record from an artist who continues to evolve and is not afraid to try new styles. Whilst her new approach has created some dazzling tracks it has also produced some bleak ones which ultimately stop the album from reaching its full potential.