After seemingly coming out of nowhere in 2018 with her absolutely fantastic debut album Thick Skin, Tia Gostelow returns in 2020 with an evolved and 80s inspired sound, and the marvellous new album Chrysalis. Where her debut album was filled with understated and downbeat melody, Chrysalis is full, for the most part, of upbeat groovers that border on disco ready dance floor fillers.
It’s not a new thing for artists to outgrow their original sound as they seek to grow and explore parts of their musical identity. In fact, this happens quite often between albums one and two. A lot can happen in those years between releases; whether musically, politically, personally or holistically. Heck, I’m a non-musician and I’m completely different to how I was two years ago.
Naturally, Tia has come along in leaps and bounds since her debut and Chrysalis is a shining light for an artist whose voice has an uncanny ability to relax even the most uptight person. Coming in at eleven tracks in length, Chrysalis is evenly poised throughout its run, with a balanced mixture of new age Tia (dance floor bangers) and former Tia (relaxed but assured acoustic pop).
The album begins with synth driven “Two Lovers”, and a definite winner from the outset. From the initial drop, there is a noticeable influence from producer Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy). “Two Lovers” mimics much of the vibe Holy Holy are now adored for. With its cosmic closing chorus, “Two Lovers” is a stellar start to Chrysalis and rightfully deserves its opening slot.
Immediately following “Two Lovers” is “Psycho”, a near four minutes of engrossing and kaleidoscopic dance music. “Psycho” is the type of track that will lend itself to being remixed and appearing in a DJ set in a dimly lit and sweaty club late into the night.
“Wonder” is a blissful and longing waltz into a frame of mind where Tia is left to ponder and think about what could have been. That synth-tinged dance influence of the producer returns once more on “Always”. Holy Holy even grab a guest vocal verse, before making some magical harmonies over the closing choruses.
Meanwhile, “Nobody” has a similar canter and feel to what Kita Alexander has released over the past 18 months. There’s a hint of sadness on “Nobody” that gets hidden in plain sight as Tia’s vocals once more prove to be a winner. Throwing it back to Tia circa 2017, “Home” is an acoustic ballad of love as Tia hopes and waits for what the future could hold for her.
Written in a time and place where she was dealing with moving out of home and living by herself for the first time, it’s pretty clear that Tia has tried to explore a full bodied sound on Chrysalis, as she continues to embrace a constant bass back beat and dizzying synth driven production. This is evidenced on the infectious drive of “Same Place”, a hidden gem on an already pretty consistently great album.
Stand-out first single “Rush” rightfully marks its spot as the last original track on the album. The album closes on a re-worked version of earlier song, “Get To It”. Reimagined with a killer bass, Tia’s vocals are quite possibly at their most complete here.
While there are a couple moments of the album that don’t peak as high as the rest; all in all, Tia Gostelow’s Chrysalis is a solid evolution of an artist exploring dance floor hits from the 80s and reimagining them with the definite essence of someone who has come along plenty in the past couple of years.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Chrysalis is out Friday 30 October. Pre-order the album HERE.
CHRYSALIS LAUNCH SHOWS
Sat 31 Oct | The Met, Toowoomba
Tickets from Eventbrite
Sun 1 Nov | Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
Tickets from Oztix
Header Image: Jeff Andersen Jnr