22 December 2007

Brooding Music You Can Dance To

It was hot. That’s what I remember most vividly about the day. The kind of heat that makes the air shimmer and the top of your head burn. And it was still only ten in the morning. The line stretched out ahead of us, the steady whump thump of bass audible under the excited chatter of the crowd.

It was 2006 and this was Big Day Out, Australia’s largest music festival. My boyfriend and I were there to see The White Stripes, but they weren’t hitting the stage for another 12 hours or so. We had more than a little time to kill.

But have you ever tried wandering around in 40 degree weather? (That’s about 100 degrees farenheit, my American friends.) It’s not a lot of fun, and even less so when half naked drunken guys are running around like tripping ferrets.

So bought some festival priced (read, overpriced) chips and found a shady spot with a view of the two main stages, and settled in. How many bands did we see that day? I remember the big ones of course; Franz Ferdinand, Wolfmother, and on account of their scary as all hell fans I’ll never forget Mudvayne. But it was the first act of the day who sticks in my mind after all this time. They barely had a crowd at all, and their stage wasn’t sporting a fancy backdrop like the other bands, but it didn’t seem to worry them. The lead singer took the stage, nodded and said hello, and got right into it.

It took about twenty seconds for me to be hooked, and by forty I was making a note in my phone of their name, so as to be able to buy any albums by them the next day.

The band was Faker, a five piece Sydney band, who had been around for ten years before I saw them on that stage.

The next day, sunburnt, sleepy and cranky, I made Martin stop on the way back to our country hometown so I could by their debut album, “Addicted Romantic.”

The album is dark, but with a core of desperate optimism. Masterfully crafted pop rock tracks sidled up next to darker, more alternative tracks, and the album quickly became a personal favourite. Lead singer Nathan Hudson has a unique voice which gets compared a lot to Alex whatshisname from Franz Ferdinand, and this alone would set the band apart from the plethora of other Australian five piece rock bands. But they don’t have to rely on his pipes, the melodies and stellar lyrics ensure Faker don’t get lumped with their peers.

The Familiar
I can’t wait to see your face, its been too long since I’ve been in your space

Love For Sale
Go on, love the one that you're with. I'm calling this a state of emergency.

A week or so ago the band released their sophomore album, “Be The Twilight.” It is everything a good second release should be. The growth and change are obvious, but they have not forgotten everything that made “Addicted Romantic” so great. The band experiment with new instruments and sounds, but don’t abandon the catchy choruses they are so skilled at. The darkness of the first album has not completely left the band, but ‘Twilight’ definitely has a lighter sound. What struck me very quickly about this album was that it had a Hold Steady-ish feel about it. Hudson’s vocals approach the singing/speaking thing Craig Finn does so damn well, but he never quit reaches that point. I suspect he’d be able to pull it off, though he sounds nothing like Finn. His voice lends itself to the style (have I mentioned I really like his voice?). He comes closest to it on “Lost and Found,” one of my early favorites.

Are You Magnetic?
Do you land in the right place?

Don't Hide
You were struck at a very young age by the light...

Seriously though, few bands can write choruses like these guys. Check em out.

1 comment:

Rose said...

Hello there, groovy music-blogging-type-people, I just dropped by to say a heartfelt THANKYOU to all you Volume Knob folks for plugging Andrew Bird - I had a listen to a few of his tracks, and ended up buying The Mysterious Production of Eggs for my musician/music snob/violin playing sister, and it was an absolute hit. And I absolutely adore it. My mum was particularly taken by the whistling; she appreciates a good whistler.

So yesh, big thank yous to all of you for your excellent music taste. I've even bought tickets for my sister and I to see the man himself play here in Perth! And the reason I'm commenting on this particular post is because I remember that you-person are a WA-person (not a stalker I promise, I just remember from Audiography....) and wanted to say: if you find yourself in Perth to see the show, and see someone with bright pink hair, come and say hi!

Also I, like, downloaded these songs. I'll iPod them and give them some serious consideration. Ta!

Blog on, chickadees x