When we were growing up in the ’70s, my mother used to take us on special steam train expeditions in the school holidays. Notwithstanding our primary fascination with the moustachioed legends of the sporting field, we fell under the romantic spell of the steam train, a symbol of industrial progress cloaked in billowing clouds of acrid smoke and forest green livery. The steam train ran from Adelaide railway station to the sleepy town of Bridgewater in the Adelaide hills; thus, forever, Bridgewater would be associated with such iconic memories.
There are moments on Bridgewater’s self-titled CD when such memories don’t seem entirely out of place. The imaginatively titled Melbourne Rock City, for instance, places you roughly in the festering corner of every ’70s suburban pub rock venue. Get Down is as dirty as the fireman stoking the fires of the Duke Of Edinburgh, its chunky beat in rhythmic harmony with the steam engine’s rudimentary combustion mechanics. Walk Out the Door is dark and mournful, with the journey coming to an end; it may be the last, and we’re just left with the memories. Saviour is a breath of clean air and glint of fresh light, while Falling Sun is the end of the day, good while it lasted, but never quite enough.
And there are the times when it could be even better, if only serendipity was around to help. Hold On is plaintive, making a point that can’t quite be heard over the din of competing entertainment, Superflo is The Angels under the suffocating strain of internal tension, Take Your Time is the earnest, if lumpy testament to third generation rock’n’roll, and Friends builds to a climax, without ever breaking out of its self-imposed shell. There’s the kernel of something good here, if only the shackles of expectation are discarded.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Melbourne Rock City.
If You Like This, You’ll Like This: Pearl Jam, The Angels, The Vines.
In A word: Pub.