Wellington-based Mystery Waitress is the project of Tessa Dillon, Olivia Campion and James Morgan, creating a sound that clips tags from sad, bedroom, soft rock through to alternative rock.
Originally writing and recording as a folk artist, Dillon created Mystery Waitress as an outlet to try new styles and different instruments. She provides the songwriting, voice and guitar, with Campion on drums and Morgan adding bass, synth and guitar, as well as recording and mixing.
’Nest’ is the first fruit of that experimentation, mixing the light, folky tones of her earlier work with new slightly heavier, deeper sounds. So-called as it is about leaving home (‘the nest’) and branching out alone, ‘Nest’ is the first full album by Mystery Waitress.
The eight songs on the album are intimate and slightly confessional. The music is warm, and the vibe bordering on dream-like, but with a clear-eyed vision beneath it. Fiji, the album’s opening track (and shortest at just over 2 mins), is light and breezy, reflecting Dillon’s direct lyrics about escaping winter and going to the South Pacific islands, while Khandallah could tonally be the other side of the coin, a darker piece of 6-minute length with unsettled rhythms, and lyrics that paint vivid pictures of life events and epiphanies.
Baby is a candidate for best-of-‘Nest’, opening with slightly swampy guitars before floating along as a swirling, melodic, indie-pop gem. Sweet, deceptively light, and never twee, but sincere, with the right amount of shadow in the folky/indie sounds, ‘Nest’ is an unexpected and delightful gem that is highly recommended.