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Augie March - Moo, You Bloody Choir




Augie March are a bloody mystery. They are the Daniel Day Lewis of Australian music. They pop up far too infrequently, unload a bomb of brilliance, and disappear into the cosmos. Their latest offering, Moo, You Bloody Choir, is no exception.

  

A few weeks ago I scored some Triple J tickets to a Live At The Wireless performance to see Augie March showcase their new album at Melbourne's Northcote Social Club. I had heard the brilliantly familiar first single One Crowded Hour, and that's it. And I was nervous. Sweaty nervous. Silly nervous. I was scared everything I knew about Augie March was about to come undone. I was unnecessarily nervous.

  

Moo, You Bloody Choir (a reference to a noisy abattoir near one of the several recording locations for this album) is simply 'beautiful'. It is easily the most accessible release from the band to date. From the opening One Crowded Hour to the more wandering Victoria's Secrets, the album snowballs, building in angst and demanding your attention. It is polite, but determined. When things call for a rocking guitar riff to state what needs to be said, there it is in full force. Equally, when waters are calm, Glenn Richards' vocals are terrifyingly simple.

  

The vocal/piano work on The Cold Acre is incredible. With lyrics that could shame modern poets, Richards' ability to tell a story is no doubt envied by his less articulate contemporaries. Strange Strange and Mother Geer provide more twists, with interesting harmonies and a nod to their 'folkier' past. The Honey Moth confirms this shift with jazzy horns and left-field arrangement, which amazingly, remains as accessible as their first single.

  

The only slight disappointment was rock tune Just Passing Through. Out of their comfort zone, with guitars steadily screaming, and drums belting away, Augie March must have written this for the live environment. Indeed, it was well-received at their Triple J show. I guess I just felt it was unnecessary. That said, it typical Augie fashion, it is a strong song and one most of us wish we could write.

  

From here things return to the more familiar sound we are used to. The poetry of Mt Wellington Reverie, Bolte and Dunstan Talk Youth again showcase Richars' talent with the pen. Slightly ambiguous, sure, but 'cool ambiguous'. Not 'lazy ambiguous'. It works.

  

The highlight is Clockwork. This intriguing complex tune has been running through my head for the last 24 hours and I am reminded of Radiohead's 'Paranoid Android'. The songs are nothing alike. Worlds apart. But the effect is the same. You recognize an important statement about what this band is truly capable of. Brilliance.

  

This band is not for everyone. I know. My housemate has threatened to burn my CD (in the literal sense) if I leave it in the communal stereo again. But then again, he likes Maroon 5 and sports a Mercury Rev moustache... I really do need to find another place.

  

Moo, You Bloody Cow is awesome. Catchy, without being obvious, the boys have once again delivered a strong piece of work. The opening track is rightly getting played to death by the Triple J team. I hope it is enough to stop them from pulling a Daniel Day Lewis again.

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