Rita Mae – Superfeeling (Deluxe Edition) EP

Rita Mae

Rita Mae has brought us another 2 tracks adding to her debut EP release back in May, now it’s deluxe edition – very posh! Having missed this the first time around, I’ve taken it as a whole – folks, it’s got some class and teases of good things to come.

I am sometimes struck how an artist’s medium can be less important than what they are seeking to communicate with their art. I was reminded of this listening to the EP, a bumpy, rumbling tour of her experience living as a 20 something in contemporary NZ. If it wasn’t clear, this is a compliment. We go on a journey with Rita through 7 tracks of indie indulgence. It’s full of feeling. Superfeeling even, the title track standing apart as a poppy and emblematic anthem.

Clearly Rita is a person who feels. Drawing from her raw material of life experience, Rita applies her craft of songwriting and performance in an attempt to provide her audience with a taste of her emotions. It’s certainly there it in her resolute vocal, stable and secure over her impressive range with a lovely mottled timbre when she sits across a note. Her emotion is present but it doesn’t disrupt the stability, it somehow adds to it. There are shades of Sinéad O’Connor especially when she lets out the throttle a little and gives us a glimpse of the power that resides untapped within her lungs.

The song writing is thoughtful. There’s nice steady build in most of the songs and they’re comfortable to navigate as we weave from verse to chorus back to verse, via some nice hooks and repeated refrains, yet with enough surprises to keep us on our toes. Acoustic guitar and dreamy layered vocals permeate the atmosphere with the melodies distinctly understated but occasionally poppy, for example the open line of Candy’s House has a fun melodic pull.

The EP is firmly autobiographical, particularly prevalent in the songs Candy’s House, The Nightmare (the two new editions which were we’re told were, ‘begging not to be forgotten’). It’s a heart on sleeve kind of work, brave and vulnerable, lending integrity to the final result. Despite the darker, somewhat haunted overtones it feels hopeful.

In summary, its an exciting teaser into what could follow from this artist. “Rita Mae… It’s your mind that I want”, cries Bob Dylan in his 1975 B-side. Perhaps a mind packaged in that voice would be even better.

Eddie George Kitchin