If you haven’t yet heard of Canadian ex-pat Tracy McNeil, you may be interested based on the company she keeps within Melbourne’s roots music circles. Aside from a string of solo releases with evolving versions of The GoodLife, McNeil has collaborated with local favourites including Jordie Lane (Fireside Bellows), husband Luke Sinclair (Raised By Eagles), Liz Stringer and Suzannah Espie.
For Thieves, the singer-songwriter coolly relates some tough personal experiences in classic alt-Country style. What’s new is the way songs are shaped within a ’70s West Coast sound. The Laurel Canyon vibe was beautifully captured in co-production with Shane O’Mara. Writing happened between Melbourne, Ontario and Nashville, the band playing like veteran session musos from the latter. Each listen reveals new enticements to “play again”. Soulful rocker ‘Wait On You’ is my current highlight. Catchy first single ‘Paradise’ is a ready-made hit for any playlist. Vocal harmonies are silken. Lyrics – whether cryptic or candid – are as musical as the notes played. McNeil on guitar and vocals is joined by Sinclair (rhythm guitar), Dan Parsons (lead guitar, pedal steel), Bree Hartley (drums) and Trent McKenzie on bass. A dreamy, considered and utterly charming taste of Americana – Melbourne-style.
Reviewed by Chris Lambie