Flood by Stella Donnelly album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions



Stella Donnelly

You are not big enough for my love,” Stella Donnelly, the Australian indie rocker, known for dealing with big themes like rape, domestic violence, racism and economic inequity, sings to end her new album, Flood. Like the album’s title, there is a deluge of emotions on the record, but delivered in her calculated observational lyricism and knack for indie, verging on pop, soundscapes, that in this record steer her sometimes in the danceable direction.

“History again, teach me like a friend,” Stella sings on the album opener, a song about a family being evicted from their home. She digs deep into her own history, with songs about her mother’s Parkinson’s diagnosis, her grandmother’s recent death, her experience in an abusive relationship. She has a way of making her feelings and experiences relatable with subtle humor and clever references to everyday life.

This album is not as edgy as her last offering, Beware of the Dogs, but is no less piercing. It will probably be a pleasant surprise to her hard-won fanbase, something that they can dig just as deep into, and find songs to soundtrack their relationship woes, their growing up and becoming their own person, and even their anger at life’s injustices.

She wrote 43 songs in many different locations during the pandemic, before landing on the eleven songs she chose for the record. Besides autobiographical songs, she has songs like “Medal” which takes a dig at people who stay caught up in their high school triumphs. “You’ve got a lot of medals / For someone who is losing / You’ve got a lot of trophies / They call it moral bruising.”

She has always had the appeal of being an artist not afraid to speak her mind intelligently and beautifully, and this album, probably a byproduct of the pandemic and all of our time spent with ourselves, seems to go more inward than her past albums. She speaks her experience in hopes of bolstering other people’s growth and thriving. “Is it a pipe dream to want my children / Never to wake up and hear women screaming? / Wish I could water it down for you but / My mouth is dry from thinking about it.”

Donnelly is currently touring internationally in support of her release and is known for her bubbly stage presence, something that some of the more danceable songs on this album will surely benefit from. Check out her deep feeling, heart and body moving record, and do a little digging for stories behind the songs, to get its full effect.

Purchase Flood by Stella Donnelly HERE


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