The self-titled debut album from multi-instrumentalist D’Addio is a wonderfully experimental sonic experience. The artist has spoken of her work declaring the collection as “just love songs”, however I’m inclined to read between the lines of each work, and allow the music to direct my understanding of the message behind each work, so lets dive in and see what we find
The dramatic slow-burning intro to the D’Addio Album is ‘John’s Glasses’; a truly genre-bending melding together of bold brass and experimental electronica. The patient groove of the opening track falls delicately into an intimacy between the piano and muted trumpet, and the final moments of the piece hold this really unexpected melancholy that leads into the rest of the album.
An interesting subversion of the delicate jazz from ‘John’s Glasses’, ‘Bucolic’ opens with a new kind of dual intimacy, this time between the vocals and a twanging guitar. A real stand out in this piece is the clever use of space; the growing distance between the lead vocal and the guitar that eventually fades into the background, the space in between being flooded by the warmth of strings. This middle space becomes replaced by a cacophony of percussive expression which feels both meticulous and improvisational. There is a great comfort as these elements find balance by the 3-minute mark of ‘Bucolic’
‘Victoria’ feels like an intersection of Americana and Bjork; the bluesy guitar motifs, and the almost unsettling vocal approach have you feeling like you might be on a road trip to another world. ‘Victoria’ is the first song on the album that feels as though it follows a typical song structure, without compromising any of the experimental essence of the album’s arc
Written during a solo trip in Cali, Artist D’Addio described ‘OJ’ as having her favourite lyrics from the album, as they both transport her back to that period, and assist her in understanding more about herself and her surroundings. The moody bass movements and beachy guitars all aid in telling a story of nature’s ability to realign our values and create connection with each other.
Phase saturated and deeply gentle, ‘Deal’ has a gorgeous balance of tonality with its minimal instrumentation in its intro. The grunge and distance in the vocals that follows holds a weight of sadness in it. The sense I get from this track is that it feels almost like a love song that was written too late, and has turned into something that feels regretful and weighed down. It has the remnants of romance but has been clouded by the complexity of an ending relationship.
To me, there is an almost sarcastic connotation to a song called ‘Somewhere Nice’ that is written with a light bossa nova groove; almost like things are suspicious; a little ‘too good to be true’. “Watching my heart breaking” is a line that feels at the very centre of this sentiment, and I feel as though I’m in the shoes of someone who has gone on a vacation instead of going to therapy. The crunchy guitar chords are magnificent in this track, and provide a light sense of tension which lives a little in between the lines of the feel-good overall tone
So far the most bold introduction of the Albums tracks, the 7th number ‘A Separation’ has an immediate groove between the bass and the drums, before pairing back for the dreamy swells in the chorus sections. “I am homeless, I’m a refugee, I can run run run, I can climb that tree”, the sense of liberation that D’Addio describes with liking herself to the homeless and to refugees is one that I actually find really refreshing. She doesn’t choose to see these out-skirted people as being necessarily worse off, instead showcasing their respective freedom from the bounds of society.
Bringing the pace down to a mellow flow is ‘Little Dot’, “hey wanna hang out tonight or have a glass of wine” setting just the relaxed candle-lit atmosphere you need. Though the experimentation of the album so far hasn’t isolated the listener, I feel as though ‘Little Dot’ has a comforting sense of familiarity to it that feels rejuvinating in chaotic context. That being said, D’Addio doesn’t hold back with the sultry grooves and lush chord choices.
The spacious swells in ‘Leave It’ are a serene and comforting diversion from the structural experimentation of some of the previous tracks. There comes a real comfort in this meticulous restraint; the simplicity of the instrumentation and groove have me imagining drifting away on a still ocean. I also love how the guitar effects also mirror the empty-pool motif in the albums cover
Coming close to the end of the project, ‘Superglue’ posesses some of the final grooves and melodies of the experimental album. I am a great appreciator of a spooky modulated chorus against some cheerful verse chords, so naturally ‘Superglue’ is right up my ally. This track from the album feels like the soundtrack to a melodramatic slow dance with someone you really should entangle yourself with. It has a looming sense of chaos that lives beneath the carefree swaying surface, the vocals slowly becoming more and more intense as you ignore the signs of danger.
Closing the D’Addio project is ‘So Far So Close (By The Window)’, a gorgeously delicate respite from an album coloured with instrumentation. The final track is an intimate and generous window into the writers world. D’Addio has created a clear moment of peace before the listener exists her colourful world, and re-enters normalcy. I find these departing moments bittersweet, the song itself is gorgeous, but the exciting 11 track album has come to an end. Time to press play again and discover something new within each piece.
Once released, music provides the unique opportunity of being re-written with each new listener. D’Addio hasn’t provided a blank, unmarked canvas for her audience to paint their own story, but I would say that the talented instrumentalist has supplied a generous assortment of interesting colours in which to create a new story. I am unconvinced these tracks can be boiled down to ‘love songs’, unless that expression of love is to include its many complexities and variations. D’Addio is a brilliant introduction to Giulia’s new musical project, and I eagerly await the next instalment of interpretive, jazz-adjacent works.