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Craig Dermody’s happy campers have been on the radars of a few of us here at House Norman for a few months now. Their debut album, Para Vista Social Club, was one of the highlights of 2012 for me, and their last EP (Two Weeks) emerged unscathed from Mike’s expert scrutiny with a full five stars a few weeks ago.
The thing that actually stuck with me most about the debut was its lyrics. On that, Dermody showed off his considerable acumen as a suburban wordsmith, wringing emotional meaning out of such drudgery as low-level boozing, crappy truck-driving jobs and eating cheap sausages. Now based in New York rather than Melbourne, the same domestic concerns are found on this album - empty bank accounts, meeting the new boss, broken hearts, etc. Familiar territory for indie artists from David Gedge to Matt Kosloff, of course, and in the wrong hands the whole lovelorn, beta-male, slacker philosopher schtick can be a bit tiring to say the least. But when it’s done well, as it is here...well, people have been lapping it up for long enough now to prove that it has longevity if not originality and Dermody's move to New York has given him enough fresh experiences to remain interesting. (There's an excellent interview with the fella over on Mess & Noise.)
Musically, the lo-fi garage harshness of the debut LP continues to be toned down a fair bit and replaced by the more polished, janglier and certainly cleaner sound of the last EP. You can still hear the Velvets and early Sonic Youth everywhere, but the production is slicker and some of the songs now land firmly in indie-pop territory. ‘Clock Out And Leave’, for example, could be a Teenage Fanclub track: grab a simple melody and a few chords and match them to a plaintive lyric that anyone who has ever been a bit bored can identify with, “What do you wanna do tonight?”
All in all, if you already know and like Scott and Charlene’s Wedding then you’ll want to hear the continued evolution that this album represents. And if you don’t, I’d suggest grabbing both this and the debut album cos you are missing out!
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Any Port In A Storm by Scott & Charlene's Wedding
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