Daily Archives: October 23, 2009

198. Custard – “Wahooti Fandango”

Back around the time this album came out, I caught these guys playing a show at the Evelyn Hotel in Fitzroy. It remains one of the most memorable and enjoyable gigs in my memory banks.

Album Cover Custard Wahooti FandangoI distinctly recall Dave McCormack (vocals) announcing they’d be playing their tunes in alphabetical order. They threw in a couple of great covers (including (perhaps) I Still Call Australia Home). The vibe that night, and on this album, was that music must be FUN.

These guys always seemed to be having a ball, but in a laidback, whacky uncle sort of way. The songs either rush at you smiling gleefully, or just sit around spinning slightly confusing tales that make you giggle (or shake your head in embarrassment). Imagine Pavement channeling Jonathan Richman.

Indeed the band even give a nod to Jonathon (along with Jim Henson and fellow Brisbanites The Melniks) on the outstanding (and cleverly titled) Singlette.

This album is chockfull of tracks that still sound fresh and still make me happy. I defy you to listen to Alone or If Yr Famous and You Know It, Sack Yr Band and not be enamoured. Here are two different versions of the equally impressive Pack Yr Suitcases (with and without theremin/bandmates):

File under: Guaranteed to get your patootie jigging

197. The Cure – “Greatest Hits”

The Cure occupy a curious spot in pop music history. They somehow retain pseudo-alternative credibility, while pumping out what is pretty mainstream New Romantic material.

Album Cover Cure The Greatest HitsPerhaps we were all distracted by the dishevelled persona of Robert Smith with his quirky mix of edginess and vulnerability.

Irrespective, this collection showcases their capacity to deliver hit after hit. The band did progress over their career, moving from a more synth-heavy approach (think Duran Duran or Japan) to more jangly, layered guitars (James or Wonderstuff).

At their best the band is hard to fault. Gems like Let’s Go To Bed, The Lovecats, Why Can’t I Be You and Close to Me are catchy as all hell, built around Smith’s hiccupy vocals, basslines worth wiggling to, and horn blasts screamed out for mouth-trumpet-alongs.

The standout track is the justifiably lauded Just Like Heaven. Of course, the Dinosaur Jr version topped the original, but you can see why J Mascis was inspired.

Speaking of inspiration, there is a certain music-geek-delight in discovering that the band’s Friday I’m in Love has become a big enough cultural icon to inspire its very own t-shirt. The song deserves it and your record collection deserves this this album.

File under: Good for what ails ya