Album Review: Vanessa Anne Redd – Zumbo Waxes

Vanessa Anne Redd is one of those astonishing individuals who seem to have more projects on the go than hours in the day and yet not only does she accomplish her goals but seems to do so effortlessly. Singer-songwriter, producer, film maker, record label owner and general idol, Redd has a veritable catalogue of skills from which she can draw at any given time and this year she has used those skills to produce her latest accomplishment, Zumbo Waxes.

Veering wildly between a multitude of genres, Redd carves herself a niche that sits somewhere between folk, indie, alternative rock and punk. A heady collection of sounds all come crashing together to create an album that is as turbulent and unpredictable as the tide. You can never quite anticipate where Redd’s music is going to take you to next. One moment you are in a grungy punk rock trance and the next you find yourself enveloped by the likes of Dirt Wheels, a rich and stunningly orchestrated and grandiose tune that is evocative of the likes of Sigur Ros. Redd surrounds herself with such a phenomenal host of musical instruments and stylings that it becomes difficult to discern where one song ends and another begins. You can hear echoes of influences throughout her work with heartfelt piano melodies, powered by emotional vocals for songs such as Transcendence channelling the likes of Amanda Palmer.

Each familiar nature is however short-lived as Redd keeps everything around her shrouded in sound. Constantly evolving from start to finish; these songs with subtle nods to other influences and artists only last a brief moment at a time, like catching something flickering in the corner of your eye to find it’s gone by the time you turn. Most remarkable in all of Redd’s work is her soft, high voice. Gently cracking at times, as though strained with the passion with which she sings there is something so affable and powerful in her tender tones that you can’t look away. The other remarkable aspect is that Redd is so stunningly malleable in her vocals. Zumbo Waxes goes through a stunning concoction of genres and in each and every track her voice is the ideal counterpart. Soft and tender for the folk elements and angsty whispers in the rock tracks. Her voice seems to barely change between her works and yet there is something so strikingly different in each piece.

The mere fact that Redd can apply herself to any genre and sound as though it was made just for her is an untold skill in itself. But combined with her bravery and fearless experimentations with sounds it makes for an album that is brazen, powerful and completely and utterly unique. There are songs within Zumbo Waxes that will leave you sombrely gazing out the window and there are others that will leave you strapped to your chair unable to move. It’s an album as unique as its name suggests.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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