Thursday, 28 August 2014

Forever Scratching That Existential Itch

Where to start with this one? I was sent a digital copy of Saul Jarvie's solo LP Existential Eczema over a month ago - it was well before I left Australia at any rate - by good dude Chris Yates (Dollar Bar, Bong YZA, The Young Liberals, heaps of other stuff). I was caught straight off the bat by 'Tracks Line Up' and I realised it was the first album in months where the lyrics really mattered to me. I couldn't help but feel like I was being drawn into someone else's worldview in a guitar drawl balladry akin to the darker edges of 90s indie fare - the atmospherics that 21st century bands can very rarely approach without sounding bombastic or overtly emotional, a sense of obviousness attached to their lyrics. But with 'The Other Side of the Firelight', when those very lyrics are sung, my heart quavered. There is almost a rebelliousness to such bare storytelling, in that it resonates both on a personal level for the songwriter and for the listener. Again, I feel that this particular purpose of music has been overlooked by much of this generation's musicians - I'm not even saying that is a bad thing - do we need another Something For Kate or Sandpit? They already existed; you can't better them (the reissue of Sandpit's On Second Thought on vinyl is a glaring example). But Jarvie, member of post-rock acolytes Rival Flight back in the day, has a timbre of voice and intricacy of spirit that makes these bold, atmospheric ruminations at once magnetic and dramatic. No, there aren't many albums like Existential Eczema anymore. But when it is crafted as beautifully as this one is, that is a goddamn crime.

Everyone should head here right this minute and pick up a copy, it's bloody great.

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