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Now based in the township of Castlemaine, Central Victoria, the Australian artist returns self-assured and firmly settled within the dense eucalypt bushlands. Dal Forno grapples with ideas of home, disorder and insomnia in the swift pop structures of her DIY/post-punk forebearers such as Young Marble Giants, Virginia Astley and Broadcast. Three years since the launch of her label, Kallista Records, dal Forno finds stability in Castlemaine (pop. 6,750), her third home city in as many albums. After nearly a decade of moving, recording and touring out of Berlin and London, Come Around embodies a newfound solitude born of/in elemental pop hooks and enlightened songwriting.
The title track, “Come Around,” offers the best example of this confident, fresh candor. It’s an elegant invite into dal Forno’s sharp new focus beckoning old friends, relationships and audiences into her resettled home: ‘And it’s not every day that I’ll want you beside me here and I’ll say / Come over here and be around.’ This meandering pop hit strikes between the melodic simplicity of Anna Domino and YMG and the arrangement hooks of The Cannanes and Movietone, capturing dal Forno at her most welcoming with arms wide open.
Other tracks like “Mind You’re On” recalls the bass driven heft of dal Forno’s previous work but where past albums projected the pastoral idyll from the urban jungles of Berlin and London, the lyricism and production on Come Around embody her current lived experience in the Australian regions where space, strong bonds and solitude are in high supply. As she sings on “Side By Side:” ‘It's been some years since I’ve seen this place / Kiss on my neck / Sending shivers it’s good to be back.’ Returning to rekindle relationships with people and places and joining in trysts amidst the foreboding badlands cuts through the whole record, as on “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” a cover of The United States of America’s 1968 track: ‘Luminous petals / Dissident Play / Dancing by night / Dying by day.’ There is joy if you look for it but, as dal Forno warns on “Caution”: ‘I sell caution word of you.’ Mistrust and doubt are not completely vanquished.
Having embarked on such a radical physical and creative journey since the last record, dal Forno lays bare the passing of time and the oscillating waves of energy and ennui that go with it. This is plain to see on “Stay Awake” and instrumentals like “Deep Sleep” and “Autumn,” which gives rise to anxiety and insomnia in her new sunburnt home: ‘Stay awake all the time in the endless heat / Find it hard to relate in amongst the weeds.’ Yet “Slumber” offers a glimmer of respite sitting within the chaotic circus of production that channels Kendra Smith, General Strike and The Flying Lizards. This track, a duet with English artist, Thomas Bush, searches for solace in the arms of another: ‘My Dear there’s so much to be done / I never finished what I start am / I’m losing / I should be rushing out the door, but you say slumber.’
Nothing is left unsaid on Come Around. Having finally found limitless time and space, dal Forno does well not to waste any sceric of it. Are you around? Then come around.
1. Side By Side
2. Come Around
3. The Garden Of Earthly Delights
4. Stay Awake
6. Mind Your On
7. Slumber (ft. Thomas Bush)
8. Deep Sleep