New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, vocalist and visual artist Sarah Mary Chadwick will release her eighth studio record Messages to God this Friday, September 15 via Kill Rock Stars. Executive produced by Tony Espie (The Avalanches), the album has earned acclaim spanning Pitchfork, PASTE, BrooklynVegan, Exclaim!, Women That Rock, FLOOD, The Guardian and more. The new collection is composed of broad, brightly coloured spiritual strokes and consists of dramatic retellings of having your heart broken, existing, movement and growth. All of this is reflected in the final album preview single “Someone Else’s Baby“ out today. The new song depicts hysteric desire at its finest – the ever-shifting goalpost of wanting what you don’t have, always creating psychic debt. Chadwick shares, “Sometimes someone else’s baby is just better than your own. This feeling tends to correlate with having an absolutely chaotic life, so as an avoidance technique, it’s fantastic!”
Chadwick is a gifted and singular songwriter, uniquely attuned to the minutiae of human emotion, not unlike Phil Eleverum’s work as Mount Eerie and Daniel Johnston’s adventures on tape. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Chadwick’s songs are unsparing, brutal, and absolutely lovely. A prolific visual artist alongside her songwriting, Chadwick’s cover art of this record mirrors the slight alteration in tone; whereas previously, self-portraits of herself alone fronted her releases, now she has pictured herself amongst a group around a piano. Still not looking at peace, but surrounded by people, nonetheless.
Messages to God is a beautifully realized record. It’s not happy but it is funny and optimistic. It is melodramatic, self-serving and generous. Sometimes, from way back in the shitty seats of the theater, you’re at your closest to god. That’s what this record is like, finding beauty in everyday occurrences. Because it’s there. You just gotta look really hard sometimes. And as Chadwick provides, “Because every day’s just one more day / trying to write messages to god”.