Missy Higgins On A Clear Night

On A Clear Night you can see a new star. Why it has taken so long for this record to come out here is something of a mystery. It was the biggest selling Australian album of 2007, and there’s nothing idiosyncratically "Aussie” about this very accessible and well-executed work. Higgins (not to be confused with Canadian blues songstress Little Miss Higgins) has an understated, unaffected vocal style a little reminiscent of Kiwi Bic Runga, while ace American producer Mitchell Froom clearly has a knack for working with colonial singer-songwriters (Ron Sexsmith, Crowded House). His deft touch is apparent on the subtle intelligence of the instrumentation and production, and he assembled such elite players as Matt Chamberlain and Davey Faragher (John Hiatt), as well as contributing keyboards. Neil Finn plays tasteful guitar on "Peachy” and adds backing vocals on "Going North,” one of the strongest cuts lyrically ("Up where the hunted hide with ease under the arms of eye-less trees”). There is homogeneity to some of the material but the disc ends on a high note with the sparse and affecting "Forgive Me.” It can justifiably be argued that Canada has many songstresses with as much talent as Higgins but sadly none get the major label push necessary to make the breakthrough she has. (Reprise)