Review: Rosie by Thelma Plum

Images Courtesy of Thelma Plum

Although this is Timber & Steel‘s first article on Thelma Plum, it’s safe to assume that most of our Australian readers would have already heard of her by now. Even if you haven’t heard the name, it’s likely that most would have heard or overheard her stirring breakthrough ditty “Father Said” on the radio, perhaps without realising who it belonged to. That song, with its deep, hypnotic, fingerpicked guitar has captivated its way onto high rotation on Triple J and kickstarted Plum‘s ascendence. The first time I heard that song I was stuck in traffic on Adelaide’s city ring route and it seemed like traffic had somehow ground to a halt to observe the sanctity of it, as a sign of respect. As wrong as it seems, you don’t really expect to hear quiet, simple, beautiful songs on the radio anymore, and I’m glad Triple J are willing to make an exception but it certainly took me by surprise. I suppose if you remember where you were the first time you hear any song, then that fact speaks to its quality and its power.

“Father Said” is just one of six tracks unveiled to the world in Plum‘s debut EP, Rosie, which delightfully showcases her ability to craft more than just a wholesome folk tune. Despite still only being the tender age of 18, Plum seems to have a managed to successfully launch a second song to radio- the EP’s opener “Around Here”. Although built on a foundation of simple acoustic strumming, the wonderfully produced track builds with layers of poppy instruments to a blissful ‘walking on sunshine’ plateau before reaching it’s hand-clappin’ destination with a quirky chorus of “la-di-da fuck you”s. It’s a particularly enjoyable, light-hearted listen. The EP’s 3rd track “Dollar” is of a similar pop pedigree and is almost equally chanced at radio play. Although pleasingly arranged, what really carries “Dollar” is Plum’s vocal delivery- in particular her attitudinal, self-assured phrasing.


In contrast, Plum shows off another feature of her downright beautiful, versatile voice on her track 4 piano ballad “Breathe In Breathe Out”. It’s a moving, dramatic song- if it were written 15 years earlier it would have probably been used on the soundtrack to Titanic. Plum rounds out the EP with another slow-growing piano-ballad gem “King” and what seems to be a song for her pet dog Rosie, who, under the assumption that this whole EP was named for her, is the most spoilt pooch going round.

I was relieved to find that Rosie has been flawlessly recorded and produced, which can often be an unfortunalte barrier for unearthed artists in making that next step up to household name. Alas, stars are a aligning for Thelma Plum at the moment on the back of winning the Triple J Award for National Indigenous Music and the 2012 Deadly Award for Emerging Talent, and I’m sure she’ll continue to build upon her experiences playing bigger shows, most recently Byron Bay Bluesfest. Pair that with the fact that she’s an absolutely stunning gal, and I think you’ll agree that Australia’s found its next darling.

Buy Rosie by Thelma Plum from iTunes.

Go to Thelma Plum’s Triple J Unearthed Page.

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