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Sally Seltmann

sally

SALLY SELTMANN 

Hey Daydreamer 

Caroline

 

Sally Seltmann’s heart is still very much pounding on the second album bearing her name. It’s a clear continuation of her debut, with the singer locked in a surprise-free but often quite loveable groove. Recorded at her Sydney bedroom studio, Hey Daydreamer is the closest collaboration with husband Darren (of the Avalanches) since the first New Buffalo EP.

Perhaps a by-product of Seltmann’s intermittent trips to and from LA (where she now resides), she often sounds homesick and smothers herself in a transient, imaginary state that floats along on a sweet nostalgia, but is also quietly anxious about the future. On the album’s cover art, Seltmann is caught mid-stroll in a technicolor landscape, eyes set firmly on a book, and there’s little question that the daydreamer of the title/opening track is her.

Seltmann’s Billy is addressed in the restrained manner of a Stepford wife that is in keeping with its promo clip, though it’s the jauntiest song about the death of a loved one that you’ll ever hear. Likewise, Needle In The Hay is far from a cover of Elliot Smith’s haunting song of the same name; instead, it’s an angelic pop song propped up by spritely gallops of piano and dreamlike pedal steel. Along with the playful Catch Of The Day, these neatly bottled, three-minute singles show off Seltmann’s formidable skills as a songwriter.

Heartfelt ballads like The Small Hotel and Seed of Doubt also resonate strongly, revealing a vulnerable side to the singer that rings truer than some of the chirpier material. It’s only during the album’s lacklustre centre that the lack of traction makes you long for the sonic playfulness of her early material as New Buffalo. Hey Daydreamer is exploratory in terms of its emotional content, but the wistful vocals and lullaby-like melodies ensure there’s always a soft landing.

 

CHRIS GIRDLER

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