[17 June 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Mia Dyson is a resilient singer and musician, and that resilience comes across yet again on her new record, Idyllwild. Dyson spends the record, as she’s spent past albums, shifting through rock and pop traditions and—at her best—making them her own. There’s a dreamy sway to “Growing Up”, which dampened the roots dust of the track into something swampier. A front-porch stomp injects some intimate energy into “That Sugar”. “Want You There”, with its echoing guitars and careful use of space, is a perfect song to display Dyson’s rangy, emotive vocals. The best moments here recall other singers that came before but also distinguish Dyson from her predecessors. Perhaps more than her last album, The Moment, this album slips from the formula, with the moody pianos that trudge too slowly on “Made From the Same Clay” or the by-the-numbers country sway of “Crazy Horse”, but overall Idyllwild is another solid album from Dyson, and further evidence that the Australian singer can be both comfortable in her own skin and restless enough to push her boundaries.