Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published October 8th 2019
New album, great album
As regular readers may have guessed, most of my spare money finds its way to book and music sellers. I buy a lot more than I write about, and this is mainly because I only write about the things I enjoy. I am saying it again, as so many people have contacted me regarding the fact I "like everything" – if I do not like a work, it is not up to me to tell people not to buy it. It simply means it did not appeal to me, so I won't review it. But if I like something, then why not proclaim it to the world and encourage people to buy it?
Thus we come to this album – Dyson Stringer Cloher by Dyson Stringer Cloher (released October, 2019).
I bought this album on the strength of two things – first, the fact I loved Jen Cloher's albums In Blood Memory (2013) and Jen Cloher (2017); and, second, the first single from it, which I bought as a digital download back in July is amazing. So, I simply pre-ordered the CD (and t-shirt) and waited for it to come out.
The three ladies in question are renowned singer-songwriters Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer and Jen Cloher, and this is not the first time they have come together.
So, it was with a sense of anticipation that I sat down to listen to this CD.
'Falling Clouds' This is the track that was released as a digital download and I bought. The glorious harmonies set over a fuzz-tone guitar make for a beautiful piece of pop-rock. A wash of cymbals and some pretty intense lyrics. I was not sure I was understanding what the song was about at first, then I found this piece written by Jen Cloher and I understood. While not gay, I was also at a Catholic high school in almost the same time period and know what it's like not fitting into their little pigeon-holed society… though obviously not to the same extent. Like her, I went to see bands as an underaged high school kid in Adelaide. But where I saw art and its possibilities for getting me out of the hole I was falling into, she saw a way out of the life that was being forced upon her by the sexual mores of the time. What a stunning track this is. One of the songs of the year.
'Believer' The second track ups the rock and yet maintains those wonderful harmonies. Excellent way to follow-up that brilliant opening track. And it has an interesting lyrical line – I think it's about wanting the crowd to be there for them, how performing is so important. It follows on from the previous song in being a celebration of music.
'With My Hands' A love song that has a simple idea behind it – touch is important. Mid-paced and with a driving beat and a nice little guitar solo, another good track.
'Can't Take It Back' We slow things right down with acoustic guitar and an almost country feel. "It's easier for the one who leaves than the one who stays…" I think that's all that needs to be said. Wonderful harmonies and a sad lyric (amazingly well-written) makes for a stunning song.
'Running For The Feeling' Staying slow, we follow up with a song that feels like it is one of regret. The singing is good and the lyrics are strong, but the song as a whole did not do that much for me.
'Too Seriously' Back to a slight country feel, with some nice piano playing, this is almost the contrast lyrically to the track it follows. "Remember what you're doing it for/ It ain't to impress some-one/ You don't respect at all…" Something we all need to remember, I reckon. Seriously good song.
'Young Girls' A song that celebrates nostalgia in a wistful, sad sort of way. "I thought that fame would make it all okay…" It's also got a great message that I hope resonates. Really strong track.
'The Other Side' This is another track that has the harmonies shining through, with what sounds like a tea chest keeping the beat (it's probably not, but I like the sound). The guitar solo is a nicely understated one as well. This reminds me of some of the Fleetwood Mac songs where Nicks and McVie were allowed to share singing duties. And it is damn sad lyrically. Another good song.
'Be Alone' "I don't need nobody to tell me how to be alone…" starts this song. I'm not sure if this is a celebration of being alone or if this is a song where the singer is trying to convince themselves they like being alone. Does not matter, yet another really cool song in a string of them.
'Can I Borrow Your Eyes' And we finish with an absolutely gorgeous track. An a capella piece, the only music coming from a single keyboard sustained note near the end. I love music like this done well, and this was done so very well. These three voices meld together and it is beautiful to listen to. What a glorious way to end the album.
And there you have it, yet another album by an Australian act that is superb (come on, only one song didn't do it for me) and well worth your time. And money. Available from Milk! Records, I urge people who like good music to buy it and support Australian artists, especially ones this damn good.
Okay, rant time (because you knew I had to spout off about something): What gets me is that, because of the juggernauts of corporate music, bland pop and by-the-numbers rock gets the push on TV, radio, social media and every other form of interactivity. And yet, this year alone we have three stunning Australian albums released by female artists who I am sure most of my readers will not have heard of before (this one, Alex Lahey's and Laura Imbruglia's), and yet all should be making their mark across the world. Intelligent lyrics, great music and wonderful voices. Why are we stuck with the computer-generated pseudo-r&b rubbish that dominates the charts? It frustrates me that such good new music is ignored, much like the new releases from classic artists that I have also written about.
Anyway, that's this album. I am sorry that I'm going to be missing their Adelaide concert, as I think it will be a great night out (though I have a feeling I'd be close to the only 50 year old man there), but at least I have the music.