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It’s 11:15am and I’m yet to write about a record that isn’t by a band from the southern hemisphere. A situation on any occasion I’d be fairly happy with but today I have something really special for you. A record by one of my very favourite bands and the king and queen of Australian DIY music, The Cannanes.
The Cannanes have a had a long and varied history, seeming to issue albums whenever they feel like, for this and a few other reasons they are best compared to The Pastels if you are wanting a catch-all comparison to save me writing reams and reams of historical nonsense. To cut to the chase they haven’t made a record since 2002 and, like this year’s Pastels record, they appear to sound both exactly the same yet different again.
First up Frances Gibson has one of the loveliest and most charming voices about and it’s a pleasure to hear her sing. Cannanes albums are usually split between her sweet melancholic songs and the slightly harder edged ones sung by partner in crime Stephen O’Neil, a man whose voice makes Stephen McRobbie sound positively tuneful, yet the character of it gets him off the hook.
Opener ‘Stephanie’ is just lovely, their spacious, simple sound of twinkling guitars, skittery drums and randomly played organ is the perfect bedrock for Gibson’s beautiful delivery. It’s akin to in autumn being ensconced within a particularly warm jumper you had put away for the summer. Another highlight is the stunning ‘I Woke Up In Hargreaves Hall’; a lovely drift of a song that recalls The Feelies side projects The Trypes and Speed The Plough. ‘Melting Moments’ is upbeat and truly fantastic, its chorus bursts into life out of absolutely nowhere, few bands can get away with mentioning Teletubbies yet still retain a melancholic air to the proceedings.
It’s great to hear (presumably) David Nichols back on drums, he is an incredibly distinctive player skittering away below the mix yet driving the thing along. Time sadly prevents me from listening to the entire album, but on a first fire through it sounds absolutely superb and if that is not enough it has provided me with my favorite song title of the year so far with ‘Is It Because I’m Bleak’. Very highly recommended.
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