After being absent for a couple of years, Nat Vazer’s consistent output in the first half of 2023 has been most welcome in Australian music.
The Melbourne indie rocker has been preparing for the arrival of her second studio album, Strange Adrenaline, in October with a string of singles overflowing with thoughtful songwriting and rich guitar work.
The latest example is the downbeat and dramatic “Rumours”, which recalls contemporaries like Alex G, Soccer Mommy, and Harrison Whitford with its dense storytelling and contemplative brushstrokes.
It’s so downbeat and dramatic for a very good reason: Vazer’s song is set in the dark and seedy backstreets of Hollywood, conjuring images of films like Mulholland Drive or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
There’s almost a claustrophobic air about “Rumours”, and you’re left grasping for breath as it comes to its end, stunned by the intimacy of Vazer’s performance.
“”Rumours” paints a picture of recurring trauma,” the singer-songwriter explains. “It’s like a creature born in childhood innocence but keeps keeps re-manifesting throughout your life in different ways.”
As the song crashes into its crunching guitar-driven finish, it’s as if Vazer is trying to block out the trauma of her words with enveloping noise. And who would blame her? “There’s a movie that’s never-ending and you’re in it,” she hauntingly whispers during the song, a claustrophobic lyric if ever there was one.
“Rumours” follows previous singles “2am Diner”, the title track, “Addicted to Misery”, and “Born”, and all five showcase the impressive breadth of Vazer’s musicianship. All will feature on the forthcoming Strange Adrenaline, which Vazer says is “like a fast car on a lost highway – forever hungry, forever searching.”
“Writing this album was like looking inward to find the child inside again, and reaching outward for something beyond me,” she adds.
Strange Adrenaline is the follow-up to Vazer’s 2020 debut, Is This Offensive and Loud?, which was nominated for the Australian Music Prize. The album also earned its creator a nomination for Best Breakthrough Artist at the Music Victoria Awards.
And if Vazer’s carefully drip-fed 2023 singles are anything to go by, her second album could – perhaps should – be the one to propel her to the level of wider acclaim other indie singer-songwriters such as Julia Jacklin enjoy in this country.