Tash Sultana – Terra Firma
Eclectic Australian artist Tash Sultana took over the country’s airwaves in 2016 with their gargantuan single Jungle, which soon crossed over and found its way to the US charts too. Blending psychedelic and alternative rock, lo-fi and R&B, the brilliantly talented multi-instrumentalist has single-handedly risen to an astonishing level of global success. Those accomplishments have been distilled in Terra Firma, Sultana’s sophomore record, which examines themes such as ambition and expectation in the Information Age through a vibrant, ever-changing soundscape.
The album opens with Musk, an experimental convergence of keyboards, bass and drums that assumes the listener is sitting back, relaxed, eyes closed and ready to be enchanted by another world for an hour. Due to the pandemic, this will indeed be the default stance for the average beholder. Crop Circles pulls the audience out of the trance with its meditation on experiencing an identity crisis – “crop circles on the carpet, now I’m dead, the only thing I fear is losing my head.” This theme is wonderfully echoed in the closing tune I Am Free.
A pair of tracks in which the musician muses on their post-Jungle success stand out for their frank writing. There’s the R&B-adjacent Greed, which has one of Sultana’s most inspired vocal performances. Here, they firmly put their foot down and express the corruption of wealth, both as a tool of power and envy, singing “they only give a shit when you make it big, turn your back when you make a hit, but if you love me then you’ll hold it down.” Then there’s Blame It On Society, in which the artist bluntly blares, “stop telling me who I’m supposed to be.”
The forceful, spirited personality of such records show how Sultana is able to marry their unique expression with commercial creativity. The most radio-friendly songs, Pretty Lady and Beyond the Pine, were released as the project’s singles. The two benefitted from relationship-themed lyrics and catchy hooks that will translate very well to the post-lockdown format of live music. Until then, fans will undoubtedly want to listen to Terra Firma time and time again.
Terra Firma is released on 19th February 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Tash Sultana’s website here.
Watch the video for Sweet & Dandy here: