I don’t think I will ever feel at ease with Australia. Its just too vast, just too hot. It’s the kind of place where bad things happen beneath a tempered sun that can’t help but influence and direct a person’s behaviour in unhealthy fashion
Originally hailing from such parts The Doomed Bird Of Providence is not so much a band as it is a gang. At last count it was five strong and growing. With this their arsenal of instruments has grown over time and now as they present their debut album their aural vision is as clear and powerful as ever.
Boasting a previous criminal record, when the Doomed Bird Of Providence first unleashed their wares a couple of years ago with their self titled EP on Laily Recordings it was a prized eruption that contained a solid set of songs at the hands of band leader Mark Kluzek which eventually led to low level scandal regarding the selling of goods on eBay.
With Will Ever Pray the message is clear: this band is here to give you nightmares, to saddle you with guilt as the Poms must be forced to pay for previous indiscretions.
The piece opens with vocals distributed like lashes. From here strings soon drop, sinking their claws into proceedings from where they never let go. With this accordion then seeps in as the occasional piano keys drip like blood and guitar parts are driven and tempered.
Something of a concept album possessing a staunch inflicted narrative Will Ever Pray is a two part monster as the first four songs telling tales of early exploration and deportation by ship in and around the Australia region. Then “the massacre of the whole of the passengers and part of the crew of The Sea Horse on her homeward passage from Sydney” consumes the following five track finale. Naturally its downbeat content but ultimately more entertaining and accessible than watching the History Channel. In other words this is a previously untapped fountain of information.
Comparisons do not come easy or necessarily clear in compliment. Obviously the accordion is an instrument that does not get a lot of action in a rocking world and while hardly being Klezmar, its use and execution is somewhat more ghastly than the dark, likeable and comic Tiger Lillies. Likewise the heavy violin strings delivered in an Australian context obviously recall The Dirty Three however when they layer in tandem and echo with guitar it feels akin to darkland Velvet Underground. To this you can perhaps throw into the mix a sense of Tindersticks but ultimately the band is so much more as it offers a sound that it earnest and very much its own. You won’t hear anything else that sounds like this in a hurry.
Of the first half raft it is “On The Deathbed Of Janus Weathercock” which provides the highlight with the detailed description of a man’s demise as all comes together sonically and majestically lending something of a tranquil air to anything but a peaceful demise. The hooks here are the kind that give birth to goosebumps. This physical reaction however may also be as result from the fact that Weathercock was a notorious poisoner.
As the second half of the record begins and the massacre ensues this chapter opens with a ten minute plus instrumental of ringing strings as a queasy sensation prevails and an eventual hook and loop that perversely reminds me of an unidentified staple from my past (sorry to be vague). From here a clap shanty spurs the crew into action as by part 3 there is talk of “slashing throats” and “cutting out tongues” which makes for a horrific snapshot in time. With this part 4 resumes the score motif as delicate piano ticks lend the piece a calm after the storm feel, housing a raindrop like sensation to represent the closure and conclusion of the rain in blood (reign in blood). By the end the devastation feels like jubilation as a change in order feels very much on the cards.
To garner a full appreciation of this record it is beneficial to listen intently as the multitude of instruments all jostle for position while at the same time being given space to breathe. This is a truly tight outfit and very talented musicians playing to their strengths and syncing in the most dogged and accomplished manner.
Curiously this makes for very good public transport music especially trips that are long haul. While sat squashed onto a train with my fellow passengers I can’t help but empathise and liken my plight as I envisage all aboard being driven and dragged to a destination against our wills as the necessity outweighs the enjoyment of our existence and whisks us into bondage, suffering and misery. With this I can’t but view it all as a shared experience and use it as an effective tool to combat the labour of my day.
This is the real deal.
Thesaurus moment: carnage.
JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.