Less than 18 months since releasing the exemplary The Piss, The Perfume EP, Hayley Mary has returned with The Drip, a seven-track EP that will continue to assert her place as one of the leading Australian vocalists and musicians. More than a decade since first breaking through as the leader of The Jezabels, Hayley Mary’s reinvention over the past year and a half as a full-blown rock legend shows that even after all this time an artist previously known almost exclusively for their brooding vocals can create some of the most upbeat and driving tracks you’ll hear coming out of the country this year.
With a steady stream of singles released from the EP in the lead up to its release, it became clear that while Hayley Mary has followed with much of the guitar rock sounds she so brilliantly pieced together on The Piss, The Perfume, The Drip has a more melodic and shimmering sound rather the brutal, punchy honesty of the aforementioned earlier EP. Lead single and EP closer “The Chain” first blessed our ears in late 2020 with its sound embracing a soaring 80’s glam rock vibe that hides the sadness of the song. Written just as the world-as-we-knew it was falling to pieces, the melodic beauty of the track is Hayley Mary at her most accessible, despite its undertones of melancholia and despair.
Most similar to her previous EP, “Would You Throw a Diamond?” is a less than 3-minute punch of brash vocal glory that makes you second guess and think twice about potentially discarding something that could well be worth keeping if you give it a little more attention and love. Written in collaboration with Johnny Took of DMA’S, “Would You Throw a Diamond?” is the obvious single of the EP and more than rightfully deserves its place as a bristling punk masterpiece on the release. With a synth sound similar to that of their most recent album, “Sullen Kink” sounds as though it had every chance of being released by DMA’S some time over the past 12 months. Once again, Hayley Mary’s vocals are the key to the song, while the power chords of the chorus are absolute winners.
The titular single “The Drip” is the absolute crowning glory and biggest earworm of the release (as an aside, I was in a meeting with my manager and director the morning I decided to begin listening to The Drip, and all I could think about during the meeting was the chorus, Mary’s vocals and the slick guitar work at the end of each chorus; I can’t tell you what the meeting was about). Breaking it all down a little bit in the bridge, the layering on “The Drip” is likely to be your favourite moment of the EP.
I saw Hayley Mary play in Sydney earlier this year where she showcased for the most part what has turned out to be The Drip. At the time, she was more than aware that no one in the crowd knew the songs of the EP, but was hoping she’d done a good enough job to make people want to listen to the EP when it was released. Whichever way that show went, rest assured The Drip has more than delivered.
Carried by piano and vocals, “Young & Stupid” is a heartfelt ballad that will suit the more slowed down sections of a live set, similar to “Ordinary Me” from The Piss, The Perfume EP. Continuing with the sincerity shown throughout the whole of the EP, “A Boy Called Rock’n’Roll” is an understated ballad that feels like it will go unnoticed in a live set despite more than rightfully owning its spot. Much like “A Boy Called Rock’n’Roll”, “Unholy Winter” probably lacks the killer chorus of the EP’s singles, but definitely holds its own as the most tender and affectionate song on The Drip.
Hayley Mary is without question an incredibly talented vocalist and songwriter. There’s no secret there. After being in our ears since the late 2000s, it’s refreshing to see her continually surprise the listener with an ability to wrote unmistakable rock and pop masterpieces. The Drip may be her second EP in successive years, but I’m certain it’s just the beginning of a new age of brilliance from one of Australia’s most recognisable vocals.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Drip is out Friday 18 June.
Hayley has the following tour dates lined up – tickets available HERE
Sat 3/7 – NSW – Sydney, Waywards (24 Hour Party)
Fri 30/7 – VIC – Melbourne, Workers Club (EP launch)
Fri 13/8 – NSW – Sydney, Paddo RSL “Rissole Rampage” (EP launch)
Sat 28/8 – VIC – Yarraville, Kindred Studio (Solo)
Sun 29/8 – VIC – Geelong, Sweetfest (free event) (solo)
Sat 11/12 – Port Macquarie, Festival Of The Sun
Header image credit: Marcus Coblyn