The album is at its strongest when Davis’ lyricism is sharp enough to cut through; when the arrangements foreground her talent for honest, poignant, and wry lyrics
Reader Rating2 Votes
Mikaela Davis initially wanted to join an orchestra to be her outlet as a classically trained harpist, but with her crowd-funded EP ‘Fortune Teller’, and now full debut ‘Delivery’, she’s making her mark as an artist in her own right.
‘Delivery’ traces that journey, as she becomes an artist, but also as she becomes a woman in an often cruel and lonely world. This isn’t a simple tale of a strident, confident self-expression though – it’s also one of hope, shame, loneliness and vulnerability.
On Emily, the eponymous character is urged to ‘let me in/ unlock the door/ I can be your friend’. A Letter That I’ll Never Send beautifully contrasts verse and chorus, from soft harp to brash guitars and intimate hushed storytelling to anguished cries, as a proxy for Davis’ internal battle to find herself.
But Davis has grown. Little Bird which begins starkly and tentatively with only harp and vocals, ‘I’ve been called a little bird, but now I’ve got to spread my wings’, before building to fuzzy, blues-y guitar riffs as Davis’ sings powerfully, ‘This little bird you’ve been brooding has gone free.’
Reflecting that growth and search for identity the album embraces an eclectic range of genres, spanning chamber pop, folk, Americana and bluesy-funk. It’s a testament to Mikaela Davis’ lyricism and the album’s production (from John Congleton of St. Vincent and Future Islands notoriety) that although the harp features heavily it never feels like the reason for the record. English folk rock trio, The Staves provide beautiful vocal harmonies for Davis’ soaring yet tender voice on Pure Divine Love and Emily.
Occasionally Delivery drifts and flirts with becoming an easy listening album, but for the most part does avoid this. It’s strongest when Davis’ lyricism is sharp enough to cut through; when the arrangements foreground her talent for honest, poignant, and wry lyrics.