Reviewed by Kat Waswo

Giantess: Big Woman

Reviewed by Kat Waswo

Giantess: Big Woman

Literally meaning giant female, Giantess have waited until NZ Music Month to release their debut album ‘Big Woman’. Created by members of disbanded legion Hex, the nine-track LP continues their journey of the supernatural realms – this time wrapped in a colourful sequinned cloak.

Wellington partners Kiki Van Newtown and Jason Erskine create a hypnotic collection of technicoloured dreamscapes. The visual aesthetic is tightly wound together with the aural feel of this album, which should appease followers of these surreal artists.

With references to the zodiac and tarot, their moody songs seem to be showered with a bitter-sweet distortion. Featuring anthemic guitar and layered vocal coils it’s easy to feel colours materialise – and the album art by Mica Stills compliments the Giantess vibe perfectly.

The tunes were written and performed by Van Newtown and produced by Erskine, with drums mostly provided by Lauren Ellis. Others contributing on the album include Callum Gay (Spook the Horses) on drums and Amber Beaton (GATSK) on guitar.

Recorded in an undisclosed location in Pōneke, the ‘dark dream pop’ duo have produced an incredibly clear sound with Van Newtown’s vocal-heavy stories carrying the theme throughout. Balladic intros emphasise her Kiwi accent, adding vulnerability to the album’s tone.

Kiki Van Newtown’s voice mixed with psychedelic guitar fuzz is certainly the signature sound of Giantess. Similar tempos and tones throughout the album create a trance-like experience, somehow making it hard to pull away from.

Highlight tracks are The Flood, a slightly heavier offering over nearly five minutes that illustrates Van Newtown’s emotive prowess with raw vocals. Sewn Seed offers a slightly more off-beat rhythm and a vocal range in contrast swinging from sweet little echoes to deep maniacal wails.

Red Sky (We Are Waiting) ties in some medieval harpsichord vibes with haunting dual vocal harmonies. The upbeat kicker Good Looking Girls would certainly be a treat to hear live once this Covid lockdown is over.

Releasing singles The News in February and Gone Gone Golden in April, the team managed to film a video for the latter track shortly before the Level 4 lockdown – an intimate sunset shoot which reiterates the striking visual elements of this project.

With those two single-release teasers and the cold nights drawing nearer, this album is sure to spread some sanguine warmth to listeners this winter.