Premiere: Stu Larsen cements his place as a folk favourite with new album, Marigold
With his new record, the constantly-roaming Australian musician enters a new stage of widespread, international acclaim.
We've spoken a few times of the often-overlooked indie-folk world in Australia, particularly with the genre's increasing dominance over the last few years. Whether it's small artists becoming cult-favourites on their home turf - Fremantle's Jack Davies and his Bush Chooks ensemble, for example - or bigger artists just beginning to grapple with international acclaim, it's clear that there's a rich indie-folk ecosystem building in Australia, and with many of these artists finding their feet in global waters too, it often feels like we're missing out our own next big break-out stars.
Someone that knows all about this is Stu Larsen. Despite not being a household name like some of the acoustic heavyweights Australia's music world thrusts into the stratosphere, Larsen has accomplished just as much - if not more. Since his debut EP The Black Tree back in 2009, the constantly-roaming Australian musician has become a go-to for folk washed with gentle acoustics that occasionally, are able to bite with a bit more of a ferocious, indie-reminiscent snarl. He's toured sold-out shows in international waters amongst some in his home country too, his constant need to tour and travel meaning that he's an artist whose global spread outmatches many others within Australian indie, even some of it's biggest names.
His new record, the today-premiering Marigold, showcases exactly why Stu Larsen is such a brilliant force within our acoustic world. It's a largely soft-stirring record that encapsulates his sound and the many facets of folk it covers, from those that move with more country-reminiscent twangs to those that align his shimmering vocal hooks front-and-centre, taking on a more folk-pop sound reminiscent of some of the names he's toured alongside over the years: Jarryd James, Boy & Bear, Passenger, Julia Jacklin's more ballad-esque work and hell, even Ed Sheeran at his most rich and early sounds.
However, regardless of what sound he picks up across Marigold's duration, Stu Larsen embraces it with a certain passion and potency that keeps the album connected together, and makes the full record quite an entrancing record. There's a certain emotive passion amongst its many highs and lows, with Larsen's vocal exploring the holes and gaps between stripped-back guitar melodies and rich percussion with an emphasis on songwriting and lyricism that makes you able to take away your own feelings and meanings from the record, no matter what they're actually about.
"Marigold has become the symbol of true love and genuine happiness and this next body of work encompasses the many ups and downs that go along with the search for such love," he says on the record, and those highs and lows are exactly what we're talking about. Marigold has high peaks and emotive low peaks, representing the rollercoastering ride of complex emotions that make up any human, but are often left absent from music in search of simplicity.
However, Stu Larsen isn't afraid to embrace them, and that's what makes Marigold such a rich listen. So, dive into the record below ahead of its greater release tomorrow, and when this whole gig-cancelling thing is over, make sure you head to one of his rescheduled / new live shows to see this gentle folk charm on a live stage - it's apparently something that can't be missed.
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