Ever since Björk and Beth Orton made it safe for female singer-songwriters to explore electronica, an aural land-grab of sorts has now ensued as different acts stake their own piece of emotional territory. Australian native Tania May-Bowers finds herself standing in the shady DMZ between the indie-rock and electronic communities. So on her debut LP, Under a Different Sky, Tania exploits her dual citizenship to jump between icy analog synth textures and acoustic balladry. What generally bridges them together is Tania's free-association verse and melancholic melodic dispositions. And while the understatement of her work is admirable, her successes are generally modest.
Well connected through her deal with local electronic indie Chocolate Industries and husband Casey Rice (he who produced and played with Liz Phair at her peak), Tania has pulled together an able team of collaborators from indie rock (John MacIntyre, Giant Sand's Howe Gelb) and IDM (Prefuse 73). At its best, such as on the current single "Lightning and Thunder," Tania's wordplay and brooding compositional style lend the music an unpretentious yet elegiac grandeur. But mostly Tania and her music are too polite to speak up for themselves, which allows much of this album to fall into memory's dustbin.