Liz Stringer: “I didn’t have any design for the outcome, which was very different to other records I’ve made”

Liz Stringer
(Image credit: Kristoffer Paulsen)

It's been a storied 15 years for Melbourne‑native folk goddess Liz Stringer, with a string of critically cherished studio and live albums, a devoted cult following on local shores (though as NME’s David James Young attests, “she deserves her own megachurch”) and a phenomenal collaborative project with fellow indie-rockers Mia Dyson and Jen Cloher (nonchalantly dubbed Dyson Stringer Cloher). But despite already establishing a remarkable legacy, it’s on Stringer’s newest effort, First Time Really Feeling – her first solo full-length in half a decade – that she truly opens herself up to the world. In more ways than one, you could call it the debut album from Liz Stringer 2. 

On a sonic wavelength, First Time Really Feeling is Stringer’s sharpest, crispiest and most instantly earwormish effort – the soundscapes are cool and colourful and cheery – though thematically, it’s a clear-cut gut-punch of raw, lucid emotion. Stringer always tends to wear her heart on her sleeve, but in the past there’s always been a few degrees of separation – a lens of metaphor or narrative frame through which she filters her ruminations; but here, her thoughts are completely bare. And it makes sense especially given the album’s origin: when she was writing it, Stringer was going through some of the biggest and most transformative personal changes she ever had. More confident than ever to embrace her mental turbulence through art, First Time Really Feeling is apt title.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…