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PREMEIRE: Monsters in the mind haunt Bernardine’s Day By Day

Doubt is a powerful thing. It clouds the senses and makes you lose track of who you are. It’s a noose around your neck that your fingers fumble at to remove. That sounds a little extreme but it’s the truth. Thankfully for us, Bernadine is able to voice these feelings far more eloquently with her latest single Day By Day, so we’ll let her handle the metaphors from here on out.

Bernardine alt-folk

Shadows in the corners of your mind? Bernardine eases the pain with her latest single Day By Day. Warm yet honest, it’s the perfect remedy for the troubled psyche.

A Perth native, Bernardine (she fills out her tax forms as Bernardine Grigson) packed up her guitar and travelled to Melbourne when she was 18. To make ends meet she started busking, a craft she continued to develop upon her return to the west coast the following year. Though she’s classically trained, Bernardine was instinctively pulled into the realm of alternative music. Day By Day continues to see her take her songwriting to new heights.

I know we said we’d lay off on the morbid imagery but Bernardine paints some pretty distinct pictures with her lyrics. “The shadow you cast makes shapes on the ground behind you / You turn away so you can’t see / Coz it’s giving away everything you intended to hide” she sings, her voice ringing out into the empty void. The protagonist she deals with is a sad one, someone who is weighed down by their own ill feelings, a sentiment that is punctuated well by a sorrowful violin.

The minimal chorus of “Day, by day” puts across the feeling of anxiety felt, the repetition playing up the notion of the burden. The track is stripped back to just guitar, bass, light percussion and said violin. Bernardine has a masterful control over the alt-folk style and she flexes her prowess here. The arrangements allow for a sense of drama, heightening the emotional weight of her lyrics.

As always, her vocals are the highlight of the track. Warm, mellow and earthy her voice contrasts with the lyrical matter. Day By Day is a sad song, but her welcoming voice catches the listener off guard. It acts as the counter balance to the story being told. Yes there are plenty of images of self-doubt reflected in the words, but the voice has such a calming quality that it manages to put the plight in perspective. Sure, doubt can be a terrible thing, but it’s self-imposed and its power is derived from the person in question.

If you’re a fan of Bob Evans then you’ll definitely be a fan of this one. the melodies are warm while the themes remain relatable and personal without becoming emo (let’s never go back to that era again). Bernardine has certainly come a long way from her days busking in Melbourne.

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October 16, 2015

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