The metamorphosis of gifted folk singer/songwriter Celia Pavey into the electro pop powerhouse Vera Blue has been as visually electrifying as it has musically scintillating.
It began with the release of the critically lauded EP “Fingertips” and its achingly ethereal breakthrough platinum single HOLD. Musically, the track fuses Pavey’s raw lyrical insights and captivating vocals with elegant, hypnotic electronica; while the accompanying black and white video plays with close up perspectives and a hauntingly interior tone.
The rapturously received debut album “Perennial” came next; along with that dance-inducing, double platinum single REGULAR TOUCH – and its far more cinematic visual direction.
This time, a Goddess-like Vera Blue is captured in sweeping colour against majestic snow peaks and rolling, faded green mountain ranges; her soaring vocals as wild and resplendent as her flaming hair.
The blinding success of “Perennial” was followed by the globally penetrating Flume collaboration “Rushing Back” (which reached #2 on Triple J’s Hottest 100); and two chart topping post album singles. The breezily melodic ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS scales down the electronica and turns up the folk-pop; while THE WAY THAT YOU LOVE ME moved back towards electronic grunge and showed us how sometimes love can be taken advantage of.
Which brings us to the next exhilarating chapter in the Vera Blue Odyssey, and the brand new single (from the upcoming second studio album) – called LIE TO ME.
If the tracks on “Perennial” were written in the ashes of a devastating break up, then LIE TO ME is Pavey losing her mind at the other end of the romantic spectrum – falling IN love.
“When you go through a lot of emotional shit, you can’t imagine yourself in a new relationship. Then you suddenly fall into one, and the fear and mistrust can be overwhelming: ‘is this as amazing as it seems – or is it going to blow up in my face again’”!
The song is anchored to a pulsating, tropical beat, (and a shrewd hybrid of live and electronic drums); but then interweaves a scattering of ominous sounding vocal samples and synths. It’s a summery dance hit – with extra layers of sonic tension.
Back on board are Pavey’s essential Vera Blue producing/co-writing collaborators – siblings Andy and Thom Mak; as well as engineer Jackson Barclay. According to Blue, it was hearing the first chorus for the first time that provided the most exhilarating, break through moment in the team’s writing/recording process on LIE TO ME.
“The stacked vocals flare up and Andy took almost everything away except this really interesting sound that was a bit like a marimba” – (an oversized, wooden xylophone with a deeper range). “It sounded really fresh and made the lyrics more direct and powerful”.
“Would you lie to me? If I lie, would you lie? Say goodbye to me”?
Intriguingly, Vera Blue is not directing these lyrical questions at the object of her affection – but at the warring voices in her own head: some validating and amplifying her panic and jealousy, the others imploring her to take hold and not destroy a good thing.
LIE TO ME builds these duelling perspectives to a fully blown musical psychosis about 2 minutes and 43 seconds into the song: where one hundred Vera Blue’s howl their collective paranoia at the world, as they are enveloped by a menacing, throbbing soundscape.
It’s one of several moments throughout the track that exploit the elevated power in Pavey’s extraordinary vocal capacity; which she credits to three years of relentless live performing and projecting her voice over festival crowds. (Apart from her sell out domestic shows – Vera Blue has played Splendour in the Grass and Lollapalooza both as a solo artist and as part of a world tour with Flume; and supported indie pop prodigy Maggie Rogers in North America).
“I recently watched some vision of myself when I first started performing – my voice was so sweet and innocent! I could not have reached the belting moments at the end of LIE TO ME back then. My voice is stronger than it ever has been which enhances what we create in the studio”.
Pavey acknowledges that the styling and dressing of Vera Blue has also been critical to her creative evolution and burgeoning on-stage persona. As her musical identity and live audiences have expanded – so have her fashion choices! Working with stylist, Jana Bartolo, her outfits range from spectacular florals and prints to reflective materials and kilometres of tulle; fans and followers can’t wait to see what Vera Blue will wear next. “We deliberately choose things that are enhanced by movement – that you can see from the back row”.
She also teases a bold new visual direction and a “kaleidoscope of colour” for the LIE TO ME video clip: “There is a psycho element to this song that is very theatrical and cinematic – I can see myself becoming a whole different character in the video”.
One thing is for sure, if falling in love is as terrifying as it is intoxicating – you may lose a little bit more of your mind every time you listen to Vera Blue’s compulsive new single.
But what could be better than a nervous breakdown you can dance to?