Review: Tash Sultana’s Excellently All-Over-the-Place ‘Flow State’

This Melbourne-based busker-gone-legit raises the “do it yourself” stakes with her debut, which is a top-to-bottom showcase of her varied virtuosity; she’s the lone musician credited on the album, as well as its producer and songwriter. Given Sultana’s playing-for-tips roots, it’s probably appropriate that Flow State whirls through styles — “Cigarettes” starts as loose-limbed R&B then speeds things up to a near-frantic pace, “Salvation” recalls the marriage of big beats and gossamer voices that dominated indie discos in the late Nineties, and the simmering “Seven” showcases Sultana’s violin skills over plush synth-pop and agitated chase-scene scores.

Sultana can play 20 instruments, but her guitar wizardry is the clear star here; the yearning solo on “Pink Moon” yawps and shudders, while the gathering-storm riffage of “Blackbird” stretches out over nearly ten minutes, all thrilling. After years of being a festival and YouTube sensation, Sultana’s thrown down the gauntlet forcefully.

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