Stella Donnelly is a striking emerging artist whose prescient yet individual songs are giving voice to the #Metoo movement. Donnelly is a Wales born, Australian raised musician who made her introduction at the tail end of last year with the affecting and brutal, ‘Boys Will Be Boys’. It was a haunting, stark introduction to a powerful new artist confronting the man who had raped her friend and tackling the resulting victim-blaming that ensued.
Now she returns with ‘Mechanical Bull’, a pointed stripped back strum that’s deceptively wrapped in an evotive and languid song, a vividly drawn critique of the objectification of women in modern day dating scenarios, sharply drawn couplets are laced with Donnelly’s remarkable voice at once sardonic and fierce: a barbed lullaby with a message that tumbles out in a metaphor, it’s the sound of someone rolling their eyes at a sexist wanker and saying firmly ‘NO’, ‘I need to be alone/You’ve been at my throat for too long’. Donnelly’s faint Aussie twang and stripped back sound might draw one’s mind to the early work of Courtney Barnett and sure she possesses the dark wit, but in truth her couplets are underscored by an introspective, brutality that reveals itself as you pay closer attention to each word, that’s more in keeping with early Emmy the Great or Laura Marling wrapped in her experiences of everyday misogyny.
Shot in a rockabilly diner, the excellent video blends dreamy Wes Anderson colourscapes with the sort of sharp humour imbued throughout the EP. As men play with dismembered Mannequins symbolic of their treatment of females maybe?
“Mechanical Bull is dedicated to people who work in hospitality who have to deal with customers, especially drunk ones, harassing them and making objectifying comments,” says Donnelly. “I wrote this about my experience working in bars and it was a nice way to release some of the frustration I had!”
‘Mechanical Bull’ is taken from her debut Thrush Metal EP, which finds a full and expanded release this Spring via. Secretly Canadian. Thrush Metal will be released on limited edition white coloured vinyl on June 22nd, and includes previously unheard bonus track ‘Talking’.