Lachlan Bryan on a big album whose title is DEFINITELY NOT about COVID! 😉
Release Date: 17th September 2021
Label: Social Family Records
Formats: CD / digital
We’ve finally caught up with this now, coming to terms with a Country/Americana flavour that’s more about freaked out guitars, distorted pianos and the occasional drum machine. All done via Melbourne and given a uniquely Australian twist.
Pushing Americana might be the general philosophy on As Long As It’s Not Us, but there’s a familiarity with the way the band at “their most jubilant and most despairing – all within around 38 minutes.” That familiarity also comes with the breakups, the isolation and depression and the general air of existential crises that inhabit the songs. Aside from the title track, a quick skim through the song titles – Take It Out On Me, Weighing On Me and Never Said A Word – and there’s the feeling that a whole heap of world-weariness that’s about to drop.
That’s particularly the case when the opening line to the album goes: “we had to learn the hard way it seems.” Oh dear, here we go…However, having served up an intro to the album that suggests, like some have already intimated, that we could be faced with a big dollop of Leonard Cohen style dourness, Bryan and The Wildes, dress up their musings with a bright and lively soundtrack. What a difference a bit of laid back, groovy jiving makes.
I Went Down sees that dirty distorted guitar leading the way with a tribal groove setting up the sort of vibe that old Nick (Cave) himself would find solace with. Like the master himself, murder and corpse disposal provide rich lyrical pickings. A similar vibe carries Quit While We’re Ahead where some springy organ lightens the ominous atmosphere. Nice to hear such as “anxiety and dread” / “wicked life I’ve led” rhyming with the song title.
In contrast, another well placed pairing – Never Said A Word and the hope expressed in I Found God (a gateway in the latter for Martyn Joseph fans) provides a lush alternative with a lightness of touch in the lovely picked guitar melodies. And then the aching strength of The Understudy, there actually appears to be light, slowly swaying, at the end of the tunnel.
The “You’re like me but so much better,” line provides a neat summation of the development of a band that describe their current state as having highs “higher than ever before and lows lower than we’ve ever been through before.” Thank goodness for the trials and tribulations of life that feed into music like this.
Watch the official video for OK To Love from the album here: