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[Releases 8Th Oct]

"Something different, something fresh" is how Aussie songstress Brooke Fraser describes her new October 12 album Flags, a collection of polished, intelligent pop songs she describes as "not a departure but more of a graduation" and one she says will "surprise people a little bit." It's been three years since the release Albertine, her coming of age second album that made her a formidable star Down Under with a growing musical presence in Europe and the U.S. Since then, Fraser has gotten married, moved to Los Angeles and simply -- and not so simply -- grown up. "Albertine was me coming into my early 20s and being outraged by things in the world," she reflects. "It was idealistic and coming from the pain of humanity, and I think Flags is the pain of the person. I think I've reached my mid-20s and all this sort of life stuff happens."

Stuff good and bad, it turns out. The self-produced Flags promises a less confessional first-person bent but Fraser admits that the many of her new songs took root in a series of "life-altering, gut-wrenching experiences" over the past few years. An exceptionally personal, occasional spiritual style of writing has endeared Fraser to her fans and Flags certainly raises the creative bar. Melodies flow gracefully and effortlessly, some with a forceful immediacy as on lead single "Something In the Water", a whirlwind of stomping rural rhythms and crisp guitar riffs with Fraser's vocals adding urgency to the sweet lilt. New characters are on stage for songs such as "Betty" (co-written with Switchfoot's Jon Foreman) and "Jack Kerouac" while she goes searching for life's answers on her collaboration with Aqualung's Matt Hales, "Who Are We Fooling?".