Monday, 6 October 2014

Art of the Cover - Augie March's "Havens Dumb" (2014)

Oz-tastic artwork adorns the long anticipated return from Augie March.

"Havens Dumb" is the fifth album from the from the acclaimed longstanding Australian Saul Bellow fanatics.

After the band went ‘on hiatus’ in 2009, lead singer Glenn Richards opted to move from Melbourne to Hobart seeking lower rent and the chance to develop a working studio. This he did, building a soundproof bunker out of a small cave carved out of the wall of an underground garage in Goulburn Street, West Hobart. He began to write and demo songs for something, anything, next.

Inside of a year he’d been given the choice by his negatively-geared landlord to either eliminate the abandoned sibling kittens now in his care or be evicted. In his new rental lodging further up the mountain there was a large garden and a bungalow, which was duly converted to a more ambitious studio and sometimes speakeasy.

Communication amongst band members Glenn, Adam, Edmondo, Dave and Kiernan flickered to life. The idea of a new album was floated, one made in their own time, under their own steam; an album that was just made until it was made.

Within a year, despite two different wrists, one broken and one wrenched from its preferred location, and the perpetual problem of just getting together, Augie March began putting basic tracks down in the glow of the news they were finally, blessedly, independent once more.

In dribs and drabs over months and eventually over a year drums and bass were laid down at two different Melbourne studios. Vocals and assorted overdubs were then completed in Hobart, Brunswick and Yarraville by individual band members.

Of thirty-odd tracks, the list was refined to an ever smaller number. A total of 14 tracks made the final cut.

Augie March aren’t half-ass. The quintet were always going to put out a finely lacquered — not over-thought — “comeback” record. Their fifth album, a 14-track pearler, has as much space and confidence as the Hawks in the AFL GF. They trounce the opposition on lifting waltz Hobart Orbit. Glenn Richards, now a Taswegian, sings about two of his dogs dying and the wicked hounds of the afterlife going after his deceased pup Billy. Richards and co. deal with an Australia crumbling like a Marie biscuit left too long in a cuppa: cowardly murder, creeping crow’s feet and leaders who do anything but that. The Faking Boy is almost too much to take. In all the confabulation of modern life this is a haven.
RATING: 4 stars  


01 – AWOL
02 – After the Crack Up
03 – Bastard Time
04 – A Dog Starved
05 – Hobart Obit
06 – Father Jack and Mr. T
07 – St. Helena
08 – The Faking Boy
09 – Definitive History
10 – Villa Adriana
11 – Millenarians Mirror
12 – Sailing to the Moon
13 – Never Been Sad
14 – The Crime

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