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Maple Glider – I Get Into Trouble (Partisan)

Some artists create purely for entertainment, while others, like Naarm/Melbourne’s Tori Zietsch, better known as Maple Glider, bare their souls and delve deep into the hearts of their listeners. With her second album, I Get Into Trouble Zietsch takes increasingly confident steps, unveiling the profound, personal, and unflinchingly honest truths about ourselves.

That said, don’t mistake this for another ‘confessional’ album. That label, most often and unfairly attributed to female songwriters, implies some heavy religious assumptions, like guilt and original sin—connotations that Zietsch detached herself from in her teens. While some moments here might be called delicate, they aren’t fragile with self-doubt, nor are they as self-questioning as on her 2021 debut To Enjoy Is The Only Thing may have appeared. Instead, there’s a quiet strength and resolve in her words right from the opening track, ‘Do You’ that invites us to re-examine careless assumptions: “You don’t know me, do you really, do you?”

Listening to I Get Into Trouble demands some emotional investment and an open heart. When Zietsch sings, her experiences weigh heavy in the air, drawing listeners inescapably closer. Even in its potentially most unsettling moments, a bitter humor lightens the mood without letting us off the hook entirely. The most upbeat track here, ‘Dinah’ tackles subjects like consent, shame, religion, and sexuality with a gently swaying melody while delivering cutting contempt through lines like “I’ve been in the church making sure no one’s looking up my skirt.”

Zietsch artfully weaves parallels between organised religion, patriarchal expectations, and sexuality throughout the album. That these narratives unfold both poetically and cradled by lilting folk-pop hooks, creates an unexpected and uplifting sense of freedom. Tracks like ‘Two Years’ and ‘FOMO’ also embrace a matter-of-fact lyrical bluntness: “My bank account’s not healthy, and neither’s my sex life.” Elsewhere, on the gut-punch capitulation of ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ Zietsch asks, “Do you see me now?” after the searing declaration “I was just a baby until you made me a lesson to be learned.” This fearless approach to storytelling is what makes Maple Glider’s music so captivating and unpredictable. In fact, nothing here is predictable; there are moments where you expect a song to develop in a particular way, only for it to linger playfully at the edge of those other possibilities, before finding its own true resolution.

As you go further into the album, nuances emerge upon repeated listens, like the pairing of songs ‘You At The Top Of The Driveway’ and ‘You’re Gonna Be A Daddy’. Seamlessly bridging Side A and Side B, these songs aren’t just musically coupled, but were also crafted as a heartfelt dedication to Zeitsch’s niece. An honest expression of love, they capture the shift in mindset that comes when a new life enters the world: “I wrote these songs together as part one and two when I found out I was going to be an aunty for the first time.” Zeitsch tells us in the blurb, “I experienced an urgent feeling of wanting to be near her, and I imagined all the things we’d be able to do together, in the same places where my brother and I grew up.”

Other parts of I Get Into Trouble perhaps don’t immediately reveal their depth. Tracks like ‘Surprises’ might float by on first listen, but it’s essential to revisit them to truly appreciate their rawness and catharsis. The same is true for the closing track, ‘Scream’ which defies its name, trailing a gently strummed path to the finish. Listen closely, though and you’ll feel each ache and sting of a troubled mind at odds with itself.

I Get Into Trouble is a beautiful, expressive, and unapologetic journey into self. Never indulging in self-importance or pretension, Maple Glider joins similarly great songwriters like Weyes Blood, Julia Jacklin, and Angel Olsen, whose work delves deep into the darkest corners of our egos, where secrets can’t hide.

I Get Into Trouble is out 13th October, via Partisan/Pieater records.

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