Album Review | CRAFT Pop | Review by Allan Wilkinson
It was with sadness that we heard of the passing of Eliza Jaye earlier this year after putting up a fairly good scrap with cancer. The Sydney-born singer and musician covered some considerable ground during her short life, notably a stint playing fiddle and singing with the Brighton-based Moulettes, after being spotted in a Brighton pub by Oli Moulette. Middle Child is a fitting musical statement, which features songs that effectively showcase several sides of this engaging performer, from the sublime “Tenderness”, complete with ethereal harp and theremin, to the raucous “Run Like the Nile”, which sees the singer blend the rockabilly ballsiness of Imelda May with the Gothic daring of Bif Naked, a transition the singer seemingly negotiates with relative ease.
Produced in partnership with Joe Gibb, Middle Child embraces Eliza’s diverse tastes without the album appearing like a mish-mash of styles. Each of Eliza’s compositions complement one another, however different the delivery of each performance might be. If “Déjà Vu” is the sort of song David Lynch might use as a recurring theme in one of his films, “My Sunrise” has Jeff Buckley written all over it, a song that would provide an ideal soundtrack for the waking hordes at Glastonbury just as the sun rises over the Tor. That’s a fanciful thought, yet this music seems to reach for an emotional reaction. If Eliza’s Indie leanings are suitably explored throughout this album, there’s also a brief venture into Anita Ward-like disco fever with “I Do”, a potential dance floor staple. Eliza Jaye has left us a minor masterpiece and has indeed left us far too early.
Choice Track: Run Like the Nile (NSV 508)