Even in Australia, musical acts like A Girl Called Charlie, Starsign, Millie May and The Dizzy Goldtops are not exactly household names. Which you might find rather surprising given that they have recently surfaced on She Loves You Too, a retrospective compilation featuring the cream of Australian female pop talent. From the sweet country pop of The Haystax’s “Hi,” through Millie May and the Dizzy Goldtops’ bebop infused “If He Hollers,” to June Jones’s gorgeous balladry of “Don’t Let the Sun Melt Into the Sea”, these twelve songs span the Australian female musical spectrum. Or do they?
It seems that the only the musical spectrum these artists and their songs actually cross is one born from an altered reality. The mastermind of Half A Cow Record’s maestro, Nic Dalton, She Loves You Too sees a collection of his label’s finest songwriters and musicians banding together to create an album of songs by girl bands that never actually existed. Complete with fictitious album covers, imagined biographies, and even constructed catalogue numbers, this is a ruse of the most genuine kind.
But the only eerie thing about this recording is just how damn good it is. Here is a collection of songs reputed to reflect the evolution of a movement and instead deliver a loving and empathetic homage to it. And, despite knowing its origins, the work masterfully pulls you in. But that is not the only stroke of genius this recording affords. While the likes of Juliana Hatfield and Ben Lee’s longtime musical cohort, Lara Meyerratken, are some of the seasoned veterans who adopt the personas, the recording has also unearthed selection of seriously talented newcomers.
She Loves You Too marks both the one hundredth release from Half A Cow Records and sixteen years of independent bittersweet pop from the label. And, to celebrate, every musical purchase from the label comes with a free compilation album. And this one is real, featuring living breathing musical acts. Sweet Sixteen contains contributions from the impeccable Bernie Hayes and the divine Someloves. There are offerings from the rootsy Khancoban and Nic Dalton and The Gloomchasers. And of course the intrepid Godstar makes an appearance. With music like this, it is almost worth moving to Australia. Almost.