Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published February 14th 2020
Friends of David McComb do him justice
I don't normally do reviews of albums by various artists. But this new release I think is so worthy of being acknowledged that I knew I had to write this.
Truckload Of Sky: The Lost Songs Of David McComb Vol 1 by the friends of David McComb (2020).
David McComb was the lead singer and principal song-writer for Australian band The Triffids, whose track 'Wide Open Road' is a classic of Australian rock. Unfortunately, in 1999 he lost a battle with drug addiction, on top of a rejection of a heart transplant. He was only 36 years old.
However, he had a large number of unreleased and unrecorded songs amongst his works. A lost solo album either will be or was released (I'm having trouble finding details), but this is a collection of tracks by McComb recorded by his friends, those who knew him, those influenced by him, those who love his music. It has been called a labour of love, and that does indeed show through with the way the songs are tackled.
What this album shows more than anything else is just what an amazing song-writer McComb really was. What the world lost when he passed away is made stark by this collection.
Now, I will say that I pre-ordered this quite a few months ago when I first discovered its existence, and apparently its official launch date is in March 2020, so if you can't get a hold of it in the mean-time, keep an eye out then.
The album! (apologies - there have been no uploads of the music to YouTube yet! Sorry...)
'Kneel So Low' by Romy Vager. We start with an amazing song, full of the sort of poignant lyrics McComb was renowned for. (Phrasing like "Friendship becomes a disease…") This is a song about a lost friendship, and the fact that some things just might not be easily fixed. It is lovely, and the singing and guitar playing are superb. What a great track to open with!
'Kiss Him (He's History)' by Rob Snarski. A slight country feel to this track, with lovely harmonies, and some of the saddest lyrics put down. This is so beautiful and just stuns in how well it is performed here. Wow… I mean it. This is just so lovely. "Leave him dangling there/ Tease him never leave him knowing…"
'Second Nature' by Angie Hart.
Another song with a slight country feel, but Angie Hart's glorious vocals shine through so wonderfully. And, again, the lyrics are rather dark – "It's second nature to hurt someone/ Simplest thing to treat them like dirt…" That does not take away from the song at all, by the way, which is a highlight of the album.
'Lucky For Some' by JP Shilo. Things rock up a little for the next track, which, yet again, is not the most cheerful song ever recorded. But the lyrical imagery is superb: "Now I lie awake at nights/ Staring up through those fan blades…" Shilo gives it a growl of anger, and that I think helps the song's emotional impact.
'So Good To Be Home' by Rob Snarski. A positive feeling song! He has come home and everything is wonderful. Snarski, backed by various guitars, delivers this as a song of redemption. This is a song of hope, the prodigal son story from the view of the prodigal son himself, and it is so good. "Crawling up inside my old bed/ Pulling up the sheets around my head…"
'Look Out For Yourself' by Alex Gow.
A song about being self-sufficient, I think the slow way it was delivered made this song not do as much for me as other tracks on the album. It felt a little too slow. Yes, even so, the lyrics are still amazing: "You know how bad it feels when you fake it…"
'Make Believe We're Not Here In Hell' by Romy Vager.
Another slow track, but the musical backing actually makes it feel like it should be sung that way. But this is a return to the depressing lyrics. Sort of. It seems to me it's sort of about using the love/companionship of another hide the fact that life sucks. "Maybe it's time to make believe/ And to sing those songs/ If it stops the pain…" Yeah, a little bleak. But a great track
'This Whole World's About To Slide' by Simon Breed.
The title probably tells you we have another lyrically depressing song. But it is still really well done. And, in contrast to what it has followed, the inclusion of strings adds a layer to it that makes it stand out. There are hints of hope – "Need a truckload of sky to hold me down…" – but it still feels like this man is struggling.
Now, on the version I got, that's the album, but there are three bonus tracks. And why they aren't on the main album, I have no idea. They are not "extras"; they are really good as well.
'No Desire' by Alex Gow.
This track has the sound of an Australian 80s rocker… and that is not a bad thing at all. I like this track, with its guitars and smooth voice, drums chattering away, just wonderful. Lyrically, it seems to be about a girl who is giving up on life, but this is one track where the meaning was sort of lost on me. Taken at face value, the girl has self-medicated herself into oblivion, but I am not sure. Still, I liked this one.
'Thanks For Everything' by JP Shilo.
On the surface, this is a song of thanks, but there seems to be an undercurrent of departure, of the singer and the person being thanked separating. ("It was just an accident/ It wasn't permanent…") Sonically, the track has the feel of a song by early INXS. This is also quite good.
'Somewhere In The Shadows' by Rob Snarski and Lenore Stephens.
And we finish with a track about longing: "Somewhere in the shadows/ There's someone waiting for me…" And yet it is tinged with hopelessness: "But they disappear…" Wow. We go back to that country touch, and the male/female harmonising vocals of Snarski and Stephens complement each other so perfectly. They really lift this track to be one of the highlights of the album. There is a touch of Frente about the delivery, and it is a really good way to finish this CD.
What an amazing collection of music. I hope the title's "Vol. 1" means that a volume 2 is going to be coming out at some stage, because, based on this album, it will undoubtedly be just as awesome.
We lost an incredible song-writer when McComb died. But it is really good to see his legacy and his work so skilfully and wonderfully displayed by some fine performances.
This is a great CD. Support local Australian music and get it. You will not be disappointed.