Maple Glider is the musical project of Tori Zietsch, hailing from Melbourne, Australia, but is someone who is inspired by the world around them. After the fallout of a previous musical outlet, Zietsch switched sides of the planet and made home in Brighton where she formed a majority of the demos that would eventually form this album. Inspired by the long summer days and flowing rivers of the South of France, Zietsch has crafted an album that both loses itself in time and perfectly frames those small instances in-between life’s biggest moments as the catalysts for great change.
The first thing you realise about Zietch’s music when listening is her ability to transcend you into deep pockets of time you thought you’d forgotten. As the sparse piano lines step into action on opener “As Tradition” and Zietch’s crooning vocals, that would make any Angel Olsen fans swoon, swim about the soundscape you become immediately entranced in the tenderness of it all. “Come to me, pretty, pull back my limbs/ It’s the oldest tradition known to my skin” sings Zietsch on the chorus as she recalls lost intimacy. But although her music may be melancholic on the surface, there’s an underlying darkness that swims throughout.
On “Swimming” she questions how earnest her love truly is. “I said I would marry you / If I could get a passport to / Work in the land of riches / Live our lives through pictures” she recalls as if living in a fantasy. False promises that never came to fruition, a daydream that never made it to reality. You can feel the frustration build as the gothic melodies of the chorus juxtapose the infatuation that Zietsch sings of. These moments of unbalance creep up throughout this album and on “Good Thing” Zietsch is living in the space between. “You’re asking me if I’m okay / But I need time to process/ All these things that make me lose my focus / And all these parts of me I had not noticed / Before you came” she sings in a hushed yet deeply passioned opening moment. It’s as if Zietsch has put you front and centre in her mind and you’re the voice she’s debating with. You can’t react but only listen until she bursts out into full stride during the second half in a flurry of sweeping strings and despairing vocals.
For all the heartbreak in this album there’s an equal amount of love found in the smallest moments of life. Zietsch celebrates the company of her cat on the slow burning “Baby Tiger”, an ode to an unwavering friendship. Just as you thought this album couldn’t get any more stripped back Zietsch turns up the dial and delivers a song so sparse that you feel like you’re sat alongside a green riverbank, nothing surrounding you but nature and Zietch’s mythical voice blowing through the breeze. It’s a true testament to her alluring natural and unchallenged talent. It’s not only felines that she’s celebrating, but friends also on the aptly title “Friend”. Rolling guitar lines and a gliding melody that could send you to sleep, Zietsch not only calls back to her long-standing friendship but the struggles they’ve faced amidst change. Further resonating Zietch’s desire to showcase just how much connections have shaped her.
To Enjoy Is The Only Thing is the perfect title for this album. Not only is that statement true about listening to this release, but through tragedy Zietsch teaches us to look for the good in the world. To reach out and find more. To enjoy life for the moments of embrace and happiness wherever we may find them.