When the press rumbles began for the return of Mia Dyson to Australia to tour her new album The Moment, one of the lesser rags caught hold of, of all things, Dyson’s mooted creative liason with Dave Stewart. Stewart, ex-Eurythmics pop maestro and purveyor of all things glossy, seemed keen to reinvent the hugely talented and highly individualistic Mia as an androgynous creation called BOY.

The short story is that the tabloid got most of the details wrong and anyway, Mia and Dave parted ways before any damage could be done. The good news is that Dave Stewart, über-mensch that he may be, didn’t get to put his hands on any of this astounding music. The Moment is thankfully as far from his sheened and preened version of the blues (vis a vis the Eurythmics cartoon-blues ‘Missionary Man’) as you can get.

The Moment come out of Dyson’s roller-coaster assault on America over the last three years. America assaulted back, costing Dyson a relationship but osmosing its legends, people and road-tales into her music. The new album is doubtless the pinnacle of Mia Dyson’s work so far – everything works, everything rings true, everything speaks with her unmatched voice.

Mia Dyson’s voice is what gets you from the outset. The album opener, first single ‘When The Moment Comes’ is a tightly coiled rocker that rises and falls but, like so many great rock’n’roll songs, never truly releases. Dyson’s is a voice that suggests impending violence with its small unfrayings and burrs here and there, a violence that never comes full force – which is what makes it so arresting. As the album progressed I would come to realise it is perhaps one of the great blues voices of these times, suggesting Susan Tedeschi, Melissa Etheridge, even Janis Joplin, but of course entirely of itself.

Wonderful blues ‘Pistol’ follows and it is soaked with emotion – not over-egged, like too many current roots artists, but from a place right inside. “Use this pistol on my heart/Take me out before it starts”. This is the thrill of the blues: when it is right, this music still the most direct line from performer to listener, bar none. And Mia Dyson gets it right, over and over.

Piano ballad ‘The Outskirts of Town’ is a working-class story (“Hard work is never enough“), the sort that Bruce Springsteen always veers off into sweaty melodrama. Dyson keeps it very real and finishes off with the hopeful and inspiring “Can we do what we love/love what we do?”.

‘Dancing On The Edge’ and ‘Tell Me’ are guitar-led ruminations that shrink the world down to a bar for four minutes apiece. Smoky intimacy and noir atmosphere – beautiful stuff that musically matches the greys and grain of Kessia Embry’s cover shot, depicting a wiry Dyson taking a call in some shitty phone booth in some TexMex town.

LedZep-sized monster rocker ‘Jesse’ – a harrowing mother’s confessional to a child – shows the ragged glory of the band under Dyson across The Moment’s ten tracks. Helmed by co-producers Patrick Cupples and Erin ‘Sydney’ Sidney the band play every song with the same Judgement Day abandon that Dyson brings to her own vocal.

The Moment is full of shivers for me – those shivers when a voice curls around its own burred edge, those shivers when a guitar moans out on the prairie’s limit like a three-toned freight whistle, or when a melody or chord-change rises like the sun over Hawaii or maybe Hell. I get a little shiver of a different kind when I imagine what Eurythmic Dave Stewart would have done with/to these songs, but it soon passes, to be replaced with those good shivers that I thank Mia Dyson for.

The Moment is released August 17, 2012.

Mia Dyson’s website, and details of her upcoming Australian Tour (August thru November 2012) is here.

Published August 2012 on theorangepress.net

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  1. […] Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about The Moment? The Music Readings Words About Music […]

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