Opener Bondi’s Dead has Al Montfort contribute an effortlessly ebullient number. “I was the best at undermining civil unrest,” is delivered in a way that is both nonchalant and self-assured. Peculiar in its sentiment, the line really sticks. The music is so approachable that the lyrics shine, and as oblique as they are, they tend to linger long after they’re uttered.
Jensen Tjhung deals in heavy romanticism. Glory Rats sounds like rural American melodrama, in the best sense. A proclivity for crooning betrays a wounded yearning. The words roll out in hazy imagery, partly psychedelic and partly pastoral. Almost like a period-piece in its style and theme, it’s disarmingly familiar and affecting.
Sarah Heyward leads So It Goes, an amazingly executed Eastern-inflected song that’s both hooky and freewheeling. The unique tone of her voice and the direction of its melody is instantly arresting. Counterpoint is created by the ragged droning of the sarangi, a bowed instrument Montfort acquired in India. Combined with Daniel Twomey’s perfectly measured percussion, the song takes on an earthy, natural characteristic that’s rare to come by and hard to explain.
These songs have been singled out for the fact that together, they exemplify the unbound approach of this band, and what they can place within their blurry confines of pop music. This album should be heard many times over, as it doesn’t settle upon any one approach, but nor does it lose its purpose amid the meandering.
By Lee Parker