Ever since the lead single last September, I’ve been anticipating the release of Aussie ex-pat Amanda Merdzan’s EP Commands. The singles signalled a new sound for Amanda’s music, and I was keen to see how it would play out in a larger collection of songs. With the release of Commands, all the pieces fall together.
The most recent single “Glow” introduces the EP beautifully. It’s such a strong opening number, with its beautiful string arrangement and introspective lyrics.
“All of You” is the EP’s edgiest track, a pledge to love after another has left the object of her affection’s heart in tatters. Again the lyrics are right on point, although the vocal effects take a little of the heart out of the song in my opinion.
That theme of standing on the precipice of love, prepared to jump continues on the EP’s first single “Matter,” although the touch is a little more delicate this time. The gentle treatment with a more stripped back sonic arrangement suits this song’s sweetness. She sings for so many women wrapped up in infatuation when she repeats the line “I know that I can get carried away.”
The ebb and flow of feelings associated with old loves is tackled beautifully in “Flame.”
“Bury the Rest” ends the EP on such a strong note. It makes a powerful statement about moving forward, with pounding drums supporting the potent lyrics beautifully.
It’s so exciting to witness Amanda’s evolution. While sonically this lush electronically charged music is very different from the earnest folk Amanda created when I first encountered her, that heart that first drew me to her music remains. Commands may be Amanda’s most intimate work to date, with songs exploring the challenges in hiding a same-sex relationship, the complications in disclosing the truth, and the breakdown of a friendship. These are very specific events, but Amanda tackles them in such a relatable way. I may not have lived through her stories, but I’ve certainly felt the emotions she draws on.
Commands is released independently today. It’s available on through various online retailers and streaming services including Spotify and iTunes.