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AMY SHARK
Love Monster (Sony)
4 stars


If youíre gonna flip the bird, do it in the Top 10. Queenslander Amy Sharkís hit eff you anthem I Said Hi wasvindication to those who wrote her off. As a female songwriter over 30 fuelled by a decade of rejection, sheís kicking doors in a youth-obsessed industry.

Sharkís hustle paid off when Adore became her long-awaited breakout hit in 2016.

Despite copious material (epic, killer closer You Think I Think I Sound Like God is one she prepared years earlier), Shark HQ wisely took their time on her debut album.

They also roped in three A-list collaborators.

Like millions, Sharkís mind was blown by Lordeís debut album ó the influence was all over Sharkís Night Thinker EP.

Here Shark works with Lorde co-writer and producer Joel Little on Never Coming Back. And unsurprisingly itís ultra-Lorde-y; brutal honesty over brutal beats yet plenty of space to breathe and decompress.

Jack Antonoff transports Shark into his í80s soundtrack world with All Loved Up ó itís a Bleachers-style muted banger.

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 duets on Psycho. As they open up to each other it builds to a classy crescendo ó think later Blink rather than early Blink.

But Shark is fine going solo. I Got You is Feist meets Diplo, The Idiot morphs acoustic guitar with block rocking beats, Donít Turn Around is catchy mellow radio-ready pop.

Sharkís power is intimate lyrics, littered with visual references that manage to be both personal and communal.

Youíre dropped head first into heartbreak during Leave Us Alone, Mess Her Up is dark Shark throwing grenades. Iím a Liar a raw, reopened wound that heals before your ears.

And then thereís ballad The Slow Song, which relocates the love story of Adore from the bar to the bedroom. /CAMERON ADAMS
VERDICT: Shark tales

Try this if you like: Lorde, Bleachers

FRASER A. GORMAN
Easy Dazy (Caroline)
4 stars


Unhurried, unharried, Fraser A. Gorman is fine company for 10 songs on his second record. ďYou donít need to wait for my love,Ē he sings, resting on his porch being patient until a distant belle comes to her senses. His lisp-flecked voice is in confidante mode on Walking to Omanís, letís-go-get-loose on Ask Marcelle and vertigo-wonít stop-me closer St Joeís Street. Gorman sounds comfortable in his own skin, an Americana singer taking in the view from a Great Southern Land. /MIKEY CAHILL
Try this if you like: Marlon Williams, Icehouse

LEISURE CENTRE
Hope Full (Hope St. Recordings)
3.5 stars


Melbourneís funk scene is evolving rapidly, taking in the sort of R & B slow jams Rick James would recover to in 1988 after doing his best Caligula impression. Thatís Leisure Centreís MO, they ply future soul that deliberately tests listener expectations where some of the elder statesmen of the scene stick with saccharine soul. Hugh Rabinovici alternates lead vocals with Audrey Powne until Bec Rigby comes in and sings the house down on Donít Let Go and All I Long For. Sucka is solid, not quite super. /MIKEY CAHILL
Try this if you like: Little Dragon, Mildlife