Album Review: Missy Higgins - The Ol' Razzle Dazzle

29 May 2012 | 7:10 pm | Dave Drayton

The beauty of The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle is that you get the whole journey of its inception in almost every song.

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The title ironically hints at an exhaustion with the grind of the music industry machine; the single/album/tour cycle that success so often necessitates, that old chestnut, the ol' razzle dazzle of the biz. Coming out the other side of the exhaustion, having come to terms with the frustration and after a few years spent in musical obscurity, Missy Higgins returns with album number three,  laced with the same – often painfully – honest and earnest lyrics as previous efforts, but balanced with a carefree instrumentation and almost jubilant exploration of different corners of pop. The beauty of The Ol' Razzle Dazzle is that you get the whole journey of its inception in almost every song; its creator's sultry resignation (as in the verses of All In My Head), the anxiety (on Hello Hello the final question – “Hello, hello, is anyone there?” – lingers and for all its bareness, a probing and raw voice alone as the instruments fade to nothing, this line seemingly larger than the rest of the song), the pressure, the catharsis of rediscovery and the bold beauty of a passion reignited. There's a renewed attraction to music that is found in the playful disco vibe of Temporary Love, the quirky pop of Hidden Ones, with its organ-heavy bridge, and the animal sounds of night that ignite the traditionally bluesy Watering Hole, a dark number driven by a chain gang beat.

When it comes to the revealing self-analysis that informs the record, nothing is more astonishingly honest or earnest than Everyone's Waiting; lyrically unabashed Higgins gives voice to her anxieties while beneath it an almost military drum embodies the kind of resilience required to come back for album number three.