ALBUM REVIEW: Thelma Plum – Better In Blak

Rising to the platform that she’s worked hard for, Thelma Plum is making sure her debut album ‘Better In Blak’ is a collection of hard-hitting and thought invoking moments. The proud Aboriginal singer-songwriter sees this moment as a full circle dream that was inspired by the likes of Shakaya and Jessica Mauboy who waved the Aboriginal flag in pop music before her. 

This twelve track record explores growing up in a country where she didn’t feel represented in the media. The record is quite raw in it’s roots but she’s polished it up with an indie-pop and folk influenced production. Opening track ‘Clumsy Love’ is one Triple J fans are well acquainted with through it’s upbeat euphoric feeling layered with the reflection of her ups and downs of the past year. From there she gets a little darker and explores the mistreatment of Aboriginal youth on ‘Love And War’ with David Le’aupepe from Gang Of Youths, finds a rhythmic sway on ‘Don’t Let A Good Girl Down’ and reflects on her representation on ‘Homecoming Queen’. 

Fellow singles ‘Not Angry Anymore’ and title track ‘Better In Blak’ provide the bright festival vibes that will clearly be favourites in her live set. But it’s halfway through the record where she really delivers two of the strongest moments. ‘Woke Blokes’ is a song with a lot of power and energy. Addressing the hypocrisy of people who claim to be “woke” with politics and social issues but are covering up for their friends who have mistreated people in the past or present. She layers this serious matter with a sassy delivery where she confesses “I’m so sick of this woke blokes, living their woke lives, fucking their woke girls. Not like me. You’re not like me”. It just instantly has this catchy and important energy around it which makes you instantly take notice. 

And then the hilariously tragic ‘Nick Cave’ is about the ups and downs of dating in the current social media world and recounts a time where a guy she had gone on a date with came to one of her gigs with another girl a week later. “I don’t hate her, I hate you. It’s not her fault, this one’s on you. And if you don’t love her, honestly, then let her know so it’s not on me”. It’s one of those songs that will be universally relatable to anyone who has had to date recently. She even quips some great one liners like “A vegan is what I pretended to be, even got me a job at Mrs Flannery’s so I could be the girl of your dreams” which will easily entertain listeners. 

The rest of the album is a mix of emotional folk ballads that lead up to her profolic closing track ‘Made For You’ which she wrote with Paul Kelly. The whole record embodies the different sides of her artistry in an honest and endearing way making this one of the most impressive debuts of the year. 

‘Better In Blak’ is out NOW! Purchase a physical copy from Sanity HERE: https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2425464/Better_In_Blak 

Thelma Plum Australian Tour

Friday 9 August – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast

Saturday 10 August – The Triffid, Brisbane

Thursday 15 August – Uni Bar – Wollongong

Friday 16 August – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle 

Saturday 17 August – The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Thursday 22 August – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave

Friday 23 August – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine

Saturday 24 August – Corner Hotel, Melbourne 

Friday 30 August – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide 

Saturday 31 August – Freo Social, Fremantle