Adelaide artist Naomi Keyte has just released her debut album Melaleuca. The album is a coming-of-age both musically and lyrically, with strong themes of self-discovery and self-acceptance running throughout. This is Keyte’s first release since her 2013 EP Edge of Morning, which sees her working with a full band featuring musicians from fellow South Australian bands, Sparkspitter and Swimming.
Recorded on the quiet coastline of Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Melaleuca draws heavily on the notion of ‘home’, particularly those people and places that create a sense of belonging and identity. Many of the songs make direct reference to places in South Australia that have been significant throughout Keyte’s life, such as her family’s beach house in Cape Jervis and the Adelaide Hills. However, it was the quiet and calm of ‘Lonnie’ that provided the perfect place to create the 10-track LP, recorded by producer Nick Huggins in his friendly home-built studio.
Throughout his work with record labels Two Bright Lakes and Little Lake Records, Huggins has collaborated with the likes of Bonnie Prince Billy, Kid Sam, Otouto and Jen Cloher. His sensitivity as both a musician and a producer helped to facilitate a musical space in which each member of the band could contribute something quite unique to the album.
Melaleuca sees Keyte moving beyond her earlier ambient-folk sensibility to a more integrated alt-pop sound. On tracks such as ‘Company’ and ‘Limitless’, Matt Barlow (bass) and Rohan Goldsmith (drums/percussion) help bring an element of design to the sound, one that is in equal parts dynamic and grounded. The layers introduced by Sam Reynolds (guitar) & Thomas Capogreco (viola/guitar) in ‘Undertow’ and ‘We spoke of the Future’ duck and weave around Keyte’s evocative vocals, bringing texture and sway to the arrangements.
As a collective, the band draws on a wide range of influences including Shining Bird, Tiny Ruins, Angel Olsen, Laura Jean, Kid Sam, Portishead, Seagull, My Disco, Ainslie Wills and A.A. Bondy.
Keyte has been celebrated for her sensitive and compelling live performances, recently winning the 2016 National Live Music Award for Best Live Voice in South Australia. She has performed with artists such as Olympia, Darren Hanlon, Laura Jean, Aldous Harding and Nadia Reid, and has made festival appearances at Moving Music, Here’s to Now, Bus to the Big Trees, and Latitude (UK).
Naomi Keyte and her band are making intelligent alt-pop that is unlike anything else going around, which has a way of transporting you somewhere altogether new.
You can find the new songs **here**