Album Reviews

Album Review: Mia Dyson – Idyllwild (2014 LP)



Following from her critically acclaimed 2012 album The Moment, the much loved Australian singer/songwriter Mia Dyson has returned with Idyllwild, another beautiful album full of fun rock tunes as well as returning to her roots with slower bluesy ballads. Despite being her fifth record, she has created another stunning album that reflects her musical integrity and musical talents.

The record opens with “Idyllwild”, an explosive track that pulls you in immediately with its fetching melody and lyrics. Once hooked, the next song “Growing Up” is a slower track that introduces the listener to her creative guitar talents, with a beautiful raw guitar solo that turns into one great rock-out session. Next up is “When We’re Older” which is a fun number with it’s catchy hooks and chorus and its clear why this song was chosen as the first single of the album.

Title names such as these indicate the album explores the woes of growing up. While the first half of the album contains more buoyant numbers, the second half becomes more moody and reflective in nature. In particular, a song that is surprisingly honest is “Any 3 Chords”, where Mia Dyson explores her anxiety as a musician with simple but genuine lyrics such as ‘I wrestle with this guitar… I only wanna play in the band, I only wanna travel the world. If only I could sing for a crowd who loves me better than I can’.

These lyrics would come across as feeble and corny when sung by most artists, but with Dyson’s talent and musical integrity, it’s lyrics like these that pull at your heartstrings. Dyson’s honest lyrics also highlight her integral approach to creating music and throughout the album it becomes clear that Dyson needed to make this record as much for herself as well as her fans.

As the record begins to close, it begins to wind down with slower bluesy numbers that are closer to Dyson’s roots. The record concludes with “Base On Your Eyes”, a gorgeous slow ballad featuring gentle piano and guitar melodies that compliment Dyson’s delightful soulful vocals. The song ends with Dyson’s vocals fading out, which is a gentle way to suitably conclude a soulful and honest record.

Over the span of four records, Mia Dyson has demonstrated her willingness to push herself musically which has resulted in the subtle evolution moving away from her bluesy roots, to rockier songs featuring more raw guitar and exemplifying her raspy vocals. It is clear on this record that she has had the freedom to explore and challenge herself musically which has created an interesting array of upbeat bluesy-rock songs that intertwine effortlessly with slower bluesy soulful ballads. Her lyrics are more honest and reflective in nature, and this album could be argued to be her most honest yet.

Review Score: 8.8 out of 10

Idyllwild is available now.


This was first published for the Au Review –


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