My friends are obsessed with Bertie Blackman and always drag me along to see her perform live. However, despite my best efforts, Bertie's music has never really clicked with me (her cover of NIN's "Closer" and "The Only One" excepted) until the release of her latest opus. "Secret And Lies" is easily one of the best Australian pop albums of 2009. The move towards dark and dreamy electronica is inspired and Bertie's knack for literate, piercing lyrics has never been better showcased. It's a shame then that the album's first two singles have been so obscure and uncommercial. While I like "Heart" and think "Thump" is beautiful, I'm relieved that they've finally chosen something that radio might actually play for the third single.
"Byrds Of Prey" is already a strong contender for the best Australian pop song and music video of 2009. There's something so desperately dark and gothic about this track, which is wonderfully at odds with the killer chorus and myriad of little hooks. Think of "Byrds Of Prey" as a modern day descendant of The Cure and Depeche Mode circa 1990. It shares the beautiful gloom of "Lullaby" as well as the striking starkness of "Enjoy The Silence". I love the mix of synths and strings and Bertie's voice takes on an unexpectedly eerie quality. The video (below) captures the mood perfectly. It looks like an Italian horror film from the 70s - complete with Bertie's weird finger dancing! Make sure you also check out the TV ROCK remix, which I've been bugging DJs across Sydney to play for the past couple of weekends. Grant and Ivan have transformed the song into a stomping club anthem that takes the foreboding elements of the original to lofty, new heights. With any luck "Byrds Of Prey" should be Bertie's ticket to mainstream recognition.