Brittany Cairns entered the hearts of the Australian public in 2012, appearing as a contestant on The Voice. Her rendition of “Gravity” caused all four judge’s seats to turn before she chose Keith Urban as her coach. As the series progressed, Brittany’s rendition of Jes Hudak’s “Different Worlds” reached #1 on the Australian iTunes charts and #7 on the ARIA charts. In the years that have followed, Britt has continued to enchant Australia with her silky vocals. The release of her sophomore EP Tales of The Desert signals a brave new direction for the 21 year old, and each of the five tracks uncovers an exquisite and unique talent.
Opening with “Tales Of The Desert,” we are greeted with the unique and compelling sounds of an Arabian themed percussion section. While this sound is certainly obscure and unexpected, the vocal mix makes this track work and it evolves into a soulful ballad full of light and shade. It very quickly becomes apparent that this release is Brittany’s most vulnerable to date, as she sings, “Why would I run away, when I’m sure I’ve got to stay?/ There’s diamonds in the sand, and there is beauty in the pain.” This raw self-reflection is enfolded through the EP and makes each track quite distinct in its own right.
“Drowning In The Dark” will take you back to the “smoky and soulful” tones Keith Urban mentioned on The Voice, and Cairns’ tones are velvet over a bluesy RnB track. Speaking about the death of a relationship, the vocal control displayed and emotion within each note contributes to the story as much as the lyrics. Following on with “Everybody’s Got That Something,” we are given a classy tune addressing the public speculation that has followed Cairns since her time onThe Voice. Relying very much on percussion to drive this song, deep base tones sit below the melody as Brittany commands the vocals, singing around the melody. While she could do this superfluously with her vocal ability, she shows great wisdom in where this sits and due to this the track feels effortless.
A simple piano based melody begins “Flesh In Flames,” and this makes way for a heartfelt ballad about the fallout of a broken relationship. A mix of synth, drums and guitar works with the piano to forge a sound that is potentially more ‘pop’ than any of the tracks on the EP. That being said, it still retains the same soulful and distinct sound of the previous tracks as Brittany largely creates the melody using her vocals. Rounding off the EP with, “How Can I,” Britt gives us a new take on a classic love story. Literally singing to her soul mate that she has yet to meet, there is great bravery in the lyrics as she sings, “How can I love you, when I haven’t even met you yet?” In what could be a cliché tune, the lyrics, vocals and instrumentation instead turn this into a sincere and stand out track on the EP. With the assistance of a brass section and am impeccable key change, this song is stunning and the fact the Dylan Aiden remix of the track has taken off around the globe is hardly surprising.
If Australia is looking for fresh, new talent, it needs look no further than Brittany Cairns. Creating a niche in the market with her soulful and bluesy sound, Tales of The Desert is a no holds barred, honest take on love and life. Displaying excellence vocally, musically and in production, this is a superb release from an up and coming independent artist.