Music Review: Butterfly Boucher and Missy Higgins lead the Australian invasion

Jennifer Suh and Jennifer Suh

Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter Gotye’s chart-topping single, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and album, Making Mirrors, is only the beginning of the recent Australian invasion in our pop music scene. As Gotye’s North American tour ended at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last weekend, two female singer-songwriters are getting ready to bring a bigger wave of Australian music to U.S. audiences.

Rising from Adelaide, South Australia, Butterfly Boucher has already toured the United States and recorded a duet with David Bowie after releasing her first album, Flutterby, in 2003. She recently released a self-titled third studio album. The first single, “5678!” is a cheerful, unique pop track with a bouncy rhythm. During an interesting interlude, Boucher’s robotic voice says, “So you think you can dance, do you, honey?/ Everybody thinks they can dance/ Watch me dance,” followed by distinctive instrumentals.

Besides the rather danceable pop track, this album has songs of eclectic styles. One of the tracks, called “None the Wiser,” is a largely keyboard-based upbeat track with a colorful melody that stands out. It has a slightly darker edge than her first single; during the chorus, she sings, “I never get it right/ I’m none the wiser.” In contrast to the other two tracks, “Not Fooling Around” is a slower, emotional, electronic ballad that illustrates completely different sentiments. With consistent, simple beats in the background, she sings, “I’m not fooling around tonight/ I’m not trying to win you back/…fine, I’m trying to win you back.”

As a multi-instrumentalist who currently resides in Nashville, Tenn., Butterfly Boucher has been working on another big project. She has co-produced the third studio album of Australia’s most popular ARIA-winning singer-songwriter, Missy Higgins. After two successful albums, Higgins has not had any new material out since 2007. To mark her return to the music scene, she released the first single of her upcoming album Monday, a track called “Unashamed Desire.”

Because both Boucher and Higgins worked on the single, different versions of “Unashamed Desire” can be found on each of their albums. As Higgins mentioned in one of her promotional videos, instrumentals are no longer just something she uses to make her vocals sound beautiful. This track is different from her previous hits that are mainly based on either piano or an acoustic guitar. Although it has much more of a rock element, it is hard to ignore Higgins’ soft, yet powerful vocal performance that stands out throughout the song.

Higgins’ third album, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, is scheduled to be released on June 1.

-Jennifer Suh