Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
SOME GIRLS (Quite like Country Music)
Deep and Dark Uneasy Listening for the Discerning Music Lover.
Somewhere in the deep and distant past I’m sure I once reviewed Australian Lachlan Bryan’s BLACK COFFEE album for a magazine; but I can’t find any sign of the album in my collection; nor me words either.
My memory was more of a singer-songwriter in the Folk troubadour style rather than the Country/Americana act the album title and accompanying Press Release would suggest; and opening track I Hope That I’m Wrong ironically proves me correct.
This rather special song and story,treads a path that neatly straddles world weary Folk and the type of laconic Country music we associate with Townes and Guy or more recently Slaid Cleaves or Josh Ritter.
Possibly with Josh Ritter in my mind, I love the way Bryan (and the Wildes) create many and various velvety layers to go with the rich tapestry that songs like Careless Hearts, The Cemetery Near My Hometown and especially Portrait of the Artist as a Middle Aged Man weave each time you hear them.
First and foremost Lachlan Bryan is an exquisite storyteller, who isn’t afraid to challenge the listener with some of his subject matter. Peace In the Valley is a very sombre Folk song about a young woman who goes missing; and told from the view point of her helpless father; and will send a shiver down your spine at the end.
Another dark tale that sparkles with life is Stolen Again; where he takes the roll of a man who woos a beautiful girl away from her lover, then spends his time worrying about losing her to another. Very clever and lyrically very astute.
As usual I didn’t look at the back of the album cover the first time I played the disc; so got a delightful surprise when I recognised the dulcet tones of the young lady he duets with on TVZ’s Don’t You Take It Too Bad; yes…that really is Lindi Ortega playing Emmylou to Lachlan’s Gram on three minutes of absolutely majestic Country Folk.
And that’s not even the best or most memorable song here!
That title is a tie between another duet, this time with Shanley Del; The Basics of Love which genuinely made me swoon the first couple of times I heard it; to some degree Bryan plays second fiddle to the lady in question; which is quite brave for the ‘headline act’ but it works incredibly well on a song that could stop your heart in the wrong conditions.
The other is a Waitsian lament with Bryan alone at the piano; Sweet Bird of Youth before a gently picked ‘Jazz guitar’ enters the fray to add even extra pathos, if indeed any more was needed; but makes for the perfect accompaniment to feeling sorry for yourself after midnight.
Even when Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes decide to ‘rip it up’ it’s more of a Summer Stroll in the park, than a city centre riot; and that keeps the mood flowing with the infectious toe-tappin’ Hill Country (rocker?) It Tears Me Up (Everytime You Turn Me Down).
This isn’t ‘easy listening’ on any level; but will appeal to lovers of articulate and occasionally daring song writing from a songwriter and ace band on the cusp of a major breakthrough, if this album is anything to go by.
Released UK & Europe 29th June 2018