The term ‘musician’s musician’ can come off as a tad trite – as overused as calling a nightmarishly complex novel as ‘Kafkaesque’ – but it really feels like the best way to introduce Rin McArdle.

One of those musicians that Melbourne’s tight-knit music community seems to have an endless supply of,  McArdle’s résumé requires the deepest of breaths before consultation: she’s received co-signs from Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, Angie McMahon, and Courtney Barnett, and performed with the latter at their 2020 Bushfire fundraiser; she performed with Camp Cope when they made their U.S. TV debut; she co-wrote several songs on Bec Sandridge’s debut album, and she’s previously supported Diesel on tour.

Now the multi-instrumentalist is branching out on her own with her first single in five years. ‘Splinters’ is an absolutely blistering return from McArdle, a song both jangly and roaring in its rhythm and emotional and empowering in its lyricism.

“You’ve got some owning up to do / But I’m all out of time, you crossed my line / Who told you, you could act this way / And you could play the games you play? / You crossed my line now,” she powerfully counters in the chorus underneath an incessant guitar line.

Somehow, McArdle sounds like she’s in a rush to complete the song yet has all the time in the world; there’s a lurking tension in ‘Splinters’ that never overwhelms the song due to McArdle’s rollicking momentum.

Recalling other vulnerable performers like Liz Stringer, Jen Cloher, and Soccer Mommy, McArdle’s comeback single has raised expectations for a full record, which will hopefully arrive later this year. With her refusal to adhere to banal sonic conventions and commitment to purely DIY music, it’s pleasing to have McArdle releasing songs again in 2023.

If you want to catch her play ‘Splinters’ (and other songs) live, McArdle will be appearing at Brunswick Music Festival next month alongside Sarah Mary Chadwick and Hannah McKittrick (tickets available here).

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Rin McArdle’s ‘Splinters’ is out now. 

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