Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Tori Zietsch (pronounced like peach) has shared her debut album ‘To Enjoy is the Only Thing’ via Partisan Records. Written while she was living in Brighton, the record finds Tori digging deep into personal experiences – from growing up in a restrictive religious household to falling in and out of love and travelling: ‘This is what the album looks like to me: walking past tinsel covered trees in mid-September, swimming along the calanques in the south of France, car-bonnet frost, darkness at 4pm, lightness until 10pm, a muted feeling, the perpetual grey fog that swallows the Silver Coast, the colour red, this ugly green dress, red wine, red blood, red lips, red is the colour of the cardinal’s robe, Switzerland, my mother’s diaries, a coroner’s report, the sun on my face, the end of love…’
‘As Tradition’ is the genteel piano-driven album opener that finds Tori singing about Bible studies before pleading ‘Come to me pretty, pull back my limbs’. She then looks on the effect this upbringing had on her understanding of romance with the confession ‘Love is just a word’. Recent single ‘Swimming’ quickly follows, offering a sincere account of falling out of love after a beautiful relationship, thinking back fondly on long drives through the Deep South to visit the partner’s relatives and enjoying ‘mountains and red wine, the best I tasted in my life’. ‘Friend’ takes the record into the kind of space occupied so well by Villagers as Tori sings about time moving so fast and how hard it is to live a lie: ‘I’m not good at faking’.
‘Be Mean, It’s Kinder Than Crying’ has a confessional tone throughout – especially in it’s opening line of ‘It seems like I’ve done a terrible thing…’ ‘Good Thing’ has more of an alt-folk Laura Marling-esque sound as Tori look at someone they’re fond of with an element of self-doubt: ‘When I do, I fear it might be the last time you see me this way’. There are pleas to ‘Comfort me’ scattered throughout ‘Baby Tiger’, a very refined piece about the importance of companionship: ‘I don’t need to know anything except to know that I can text 3pm on Thursday afternoon and you reply and come to me soon’. The penultimate ‘Performer’ has a dreamy sound that reminded us of Joanna Sternberg and a dark sense of humour and reality in the lyrics: ‘I’m floating while everything I know is cascading into the sinkhole’; ‘I am a performer, I’ll perform’.
The record comes to a close with a poignant festive tale in ‘Mama It’s Christmas’, a song that finds Tori asking the heartbreaking questions ‘Where is my brother? Where is my friend?’ and promising ‘You could cry wolf year after year, still I would not stop trying to fight off your fears. Is it drugs or religion keeping you here?’
‘To Enjoy is the Only Thing’ is a compelling listen that sees Maple Glider soar in the face of adversity.