My love for all things Laura Imbruglia has only grown deeper after finally getting my hands on her second EP "My Dream Of A Magical Washing Machine". Laura's sound has changed quite radically from her debut EP, which was an acoustic set dedicated to the Carpenters. This time around, the most talented Imbruglia sister pays homage to Freddie Mercury (see the "Ready Freddie" label on the single cover). The result is a more robust sound that still remains true to Laura's unique brand of harmony drenched, literate pop.
The title track also appears on Laura's brilliant debut album and stands out as a genuine pop oddity. It goes without saying that this is the only song ever written about "a washing machine that doubles as a jukebox". It's also highly likely that it is the only ditty to name check both the Pet Shop Boys and Russell Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot Of Grunt. While there are many acts that specialise in bizarre and obtuse lyrics, I never get the feeling that Laura is desperately trying to show off her intellect - unlike a latter day Tori Amos or Bjork, to name just two regular culprits. Laura never allows her quirky sensibility get in the way of a catchy chorus or sweet harmonies. For that reason alone, Laura Imbruglia stands out as a shiny oasis in the putrid sea of pretentious singer/songwriters.
If the song "My Dream Of A Magical Washing Machine" is a respectful nod to Freddie, then "Two Cockatoos" is very much a throwback to her first, Carpenters inspired EP. The song is little more than a demo that was recorded in Laura's home but it stands out as one of the most arresting songs that I have stumbled across this year (even if it was released in 2005). Basically, Laura has written a gorgeous little song about killing her mentally ill bird because it refused to drink tap water. It sounds wrong on so many levels but "Two Cockatoos" is a demented masterpiece. If you ignore Laura's heavy Australian accent and the bizarre lyrics, "Two Cockatoos" could easily be mistaken for the kind of gentle guitar pop that was being churned out en masse in California in the 1970s. The chirping bird sounds and harmonic backing vocals bring forth images of another place and time. Laura is swiftly becoming one of my favourite singers, I can't wait to hear what the Napoleon Dynamite of pop serves up next!
If you like what you hear, you can still buy the EP at Chaos. Laura's debut album can be purchased from Sanity and Chaos.