With the amount of contemporary Australian acoustic/folky music around today, standing out – let alone maintaining the motivation to stick with it – is no doubt a difficult feat to achieve. The third release from Perth singer-songwriter Helen Shanahan, Finding Gold is a commendable effort if not for that alone.

Her first effort since winning the Telstra Road To Discovery competition in 2013 and her 2012 LP Driftwood, one would expect to hear a more developed Shanahan on Finding Gold. And while this release still sounds like Driftwood, it’s also tighter, and evidence that Shanahan has indeed honed her sound over the years.

The five tracks are all simple, but some nice fills and pleasant build-ups make the EP an easy listen. The thump of the bass drum, combined with the way Shanahan holds her notes, is reminiscent of Of Monsters And Men, particularly on ‘Dead Weight’ and the title track. The exception is ‘Windmill’, which relies less on rhythm guitar and has a pop feel to it – an attempt to do something different.

While Shanahan may not quite stand out from the rest of Australia’s acoustic singer-songwriters with this effort, the passionate lyrics and pleasant sound make it worth a listen.

Helen Shanahan’s Finding Gold is released independently.

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