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A few years ago, Noah and the Whale had enough of their quirky folk pop and decided they wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. The former We Are Augustines have had a similar light bulb moment between their previous ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ opus and this hilarious record. The album literally couldn’t be more overblown or over the top if it wore a bandana and played with the E Street Ban ...

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Augustines by Augustines
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6/10 Clinton Staff review, 30 January 2014

A few years ago, Noah and the Whale had enough of their quirky folk pop and decided they wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. The former We Are Augustines have had a similar light bulb moment between their previous ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ opus and this hilarious record.

The album literally couldn’t be more overblown or over the top if it wore a bandana and played with the E Street Band. This is aimed not at a stadium but something bigger. Its like Arcade Fire playing a gig to the whole of Australia whilst standing on Ayres Rock. ‘Cruel City’ is preposterous; whilst singer Billy McCarthy has the kind of voice which reminds you of a man throwing up his own guts, its the backing vocals that really amuse. Its all massive ‘oooh’s and ‘aaaah’s like the New Zealand all-blacks rugby team going through some kind of pre match ritual amplified through the stadium PA system. As the track builds even more voices come in. They must have roped in the entire population of New York to sing back up.

Lead single ‘Nothing to Lose But Your Head’ is huuuuuge. Its U2’s ‘Streets with No Name’ times a million. Its so blustery it gets itself all tangled up in its own enormity as if the sheer mass of instruments actually get blown away by the air coming out the mouths of the huge choir screaming along. I actually like the ‘hey’ tagline as it reminds me of The Go-Betweens ‘Tallulah‘ ......if they’d brought Midnight Oil, The Waterboys, Wah! U2, and A House along with them to sing a one off gig on the moon. ‘Don’t Look Back’ starts off all Hold Steady style before lurching into an enormo-chorus designed to be played in an aircraft hangar.

Silly, silly men but you have to admire the ambition even if it soon becomes completely wearing especially with that gurgling delivery. 


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Augustines - Cruel City - YouTube

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