52 albums – week 17

Died Pretty were and will remain, the greatest band to ever stride across a stage.
This is a given. As constant as the passage of the sun or that night will follow day. I will brook no dissension on this subject. If you disagree with me then we are enemies:
A feud that can only be settled with a bare knuckles fight till just one is left; No umpires and seconds may not enter the ring! Hopefully we are clear on this and I can move on to the business at hand, namely the bands 4th Studio Album.

Geography first.
Doughboy Hollow exists in two places in N.S.W but ‘Doughboy Hollow Creek’ which i think is the one Ron Peno shortened the name from is crossed by the Hume Highway. It apparently caught the singers eye as they traveled up and down between gigs in Sydney & Melbourne. I kind of wish it was the other ‘Doughboy Hollow’ which is on the road to Michael’s place (The New England Highway) and was the hideout for the ridiculously named rag-tag of Bush-rangers, “The Jewboy Gang” circa 1840. Sadly it’s not to be :-(

Satisfied is the standout track for me on this album. I’ve always been a sucker for a good Hammond organ sound and John Hoey’s keyboards just make this song. It’s classic Died Pretty. Paced beautifully. Building itself slowly and methodically until you get to the final chorus and you don’t realize quite how high its lifted you; the ground’s a dizzingly long way down from this eyrie. I know the previous “D/Pretty” album didn’t click with Michael so maybe the Battle of Stanmore will be the song to convert the naysayer in him. It’s got a more traditional bent despite Ron Peno bellowing the vocals out through a megaphone. Lots of strings and mandolins, Amanda Brown from the Go-Betweens added the Violins to this and several other tracks on the record. Sadly the Album ends on their weaknesses and not their strength, well at least  to my ears. I don’t know if they were chasing a commercial breakthrough too hard, maybe they just ran out of steam but Out in the Rain is just sappy! And the final number, Turn your Head could maybe warrant inclusion further up the track listing but as a closing number it falls short.

For me Every Brilliant Eye is where they peaked.
Which is not to dismiss this album, there is more than enough magic in it to warrant its inclusion. It’s just that topping Every Brilliant Eye  was always going to be a Herculean task.
They’re an old friend this band and i hope this is the Album to turn you around.

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