Super groups can be risky. Too many strong personalities can cloud the vision of an album, too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the broth, and so on and so forth. With the amount of local talent brimming from The Miserable Little Bastards cup this could have been the case but the first album from the collective is anything but a spoilt broth. In fact, the eight musicians that make up the The MLB work cohesively together whilst bringing their own flair and individuality to the table.
Featuring members from Clinkerfield, Little John and Redfish Blue Grass, The MLB’s first album Misery Loves Company brings elements of folk, bluegrass or as they describe it, ‘depression era show tunes’ together to form a rollicking ride of an album, rich in narrative, camaraderie and good old fashioned Aussie humor.
Brother Can You Spare A Dime has a Tom Waits swagger to it as it winds its way down a cobbled backstreet, while Cast Off Naked’s raucous fiddle and chanting chorus remind us that there’s nothing wrong with a good hoe-down. Leave It Alone is a feel good number with harmonies and chord progressions you feel instantly acquainted with. In The Sunshine has a quirky feel to it reminiscent of Rolf Harris and their cover of Dark As A Dungeon tugs gently at our heart strings with it’s shimmering mandolin and somber words of woe.
Instruments are used sparingly but effectively and the relative sparseness of the verses of most tracks contrast against the swelling choruses – where a choir of voices descend like a crashing sonic wave. Running the gamut of emotions thematically, the highs and lows weave together to produce an album that is well rounded, with tales of good times, bad times, sad times and funny times. Jimmy Stewart and his band of miscreants have produced a top-notch album, something to put on whilst drinking some whiskey on the rocks and shooting the breeze with a few good mates.
BY KRYSTAL MAYNARD
Best Track : Dark As A Dungeon
If You Like This You’ll Like These : OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW, DOC WATSON, THE CARTER FAMILY, CROOKED STILL
In A Word: Satisfying