Anika Moa‘s lyrics reveal her ever-evolving life-story, and if those on her sixth album are anything to go by, she’s had one hell of an emotional year or two. ‘Queen At The Table’ is a sophisticated (marriage) breakup album, full of regret, sadness, but also glimpses of new love.
Stylistically, it’s an about-face – Moa’s earlier albums were acoustic guitar-based while here the music is electronic – keyboards and beats allowing new sonic textures. Unfamiliar territory, maybe, but Moa inhabits it with ease, her well-judged vocals balancing nicely with synths and beats. Much has been said about this, but the focus should rest with the songs. The glorious, soulful These Lonely Tears I Cry for You is structured beautifully, vocals layered almost orchestrally, while The Only Thing That Matters is pure soul-pop, a gorgeous vocal melody floating above subtle synth washes and drum rhythms. Credit to Moa’s multi-instrumentalist co-writer and producer Jol Mulholland, who moulded the songs around these electronic textures, though familiar touches of guitar are welcome on the title song. It proves a successful artistic evolution for Moa – a musician unafraid to take a chance on the new.