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Album Review: Stella Donnelly - 'Flood'

Updated: May 3, 2023

First Thought: Timing plays an important part when reviewing an album.

Maybe that is a Captain Obvious statement, but Stella Donnelly’s Flood reminded me of this. Although I have listened to the album a couple of times, it did not stick until a Sunday morning.


My work schedule is all over the place, and the days of the week do not hold the same significance for me as someone who works bankers’ hours. However, Fridays mean new music, and Sundays are for low-stress work and chill playlists. Flood fit the mold.


“Lungs” starts out poppy and upbeat. The drums and the bass. The rhythm of the lyrics. They’re enough to get my attention. “How Was Your Day?” keeps it going and adds humor. It gets your head bobbing and is easy to listen to while I drink some coffee and stare out the window. When “Restricted Account” begins, the pace slows; Stella’s voice is calming. The smooth horns and piano allow me to relax further into my chair and enjoy watching the birds, the squirrels, the chipmunks, and the rabbits.

“Underwater” starts minimally with simple, spaced piano chords and Stella. Eventually, more elements fade in and out. There is a lyrically emotional build, but overall, it is like floating underwater.


The guitar at the beginning of “Medals” hints that the pace will pick up. However, it keeps that Sunday morning vibe. There is no reason to rush or get the heart beating too fast. “Flood” is catchy, and then there is a three-song stretch where I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun. It makes the moment perfect. “Cold” ends the album with the energy of the first two songs.


Second Thought: Stella Donnelly reminds me of Frente!


Maybe this is primarily a comparison of Donnelly’s voice to that of Angie Hart. Both have very feminine voices, unlike Gordi, who just released Inhuman. Two more similarities: both hail from Australia and are mellow pop alt-rock.


Third Thought: I hate when I skim through an album.


Sometimes when I write reviews, I struggle to come up with material. Not because an album is bad, but because I have trouble connecting with it. When I find that connection, it may not lead my writing into a heavy description of each song but a feeling of the overall work. Because Flood fit a mood, I had to focus on that.


Final Thought: Advice from Channy Leaneagh


I recently watched Poliça Live on KEXP. During the interview portion, Channy said that because most people stream music, “We do this more than ever now for very little in return from the audience.” She says they cannot do it for album sales or sold-out shows; instead, they continue “because we really love it.”


Being a musician in the modern world is difficult, but I hope that Stella Donnelly continues her push. Flood fills a need; it set a Sunday morning tone with thoughtful and relaxing music.


Favorite Songs: “How Was Your Day?,” “Move Me,” and “Flood”


Rating - 4.5/5

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