And thus begins our journey into the letter M.
493 reviews ago I wrote a pretty damning review of the debut solo album from The Mabels’ frontman.
Part of my disappointment stemmed from my affection for his earlier work. This, the band’s 1998 debut, showcases much of what they did best (although an earlier EP is possibly their peak).
Like much of the Candle Records’ catalogue this is a subtle, mellow grower of an album. The band construct tales of small town life, and inner suburban melancholia. The former material is more touching and captures a claustrophobic world not typically observed outside Tim Winton stories and country music.
The sexual politics (Filipino Bride, Small Town Charity Queen) are handled without purience, with a smattering of humour on the side (Tennis Player’s Girlfriends).
The more urbane numbers of the album contrast well, and lighten the tone, with occasional bursts of energy. Sitting in a Cyclone was a personal live fave, while Ecstatic showcases the combo’s ability to deliver a sense of fragility (and the horns are a treat too… as seen in this rare live footage):
If you are after a cosy, honest album that rewards mutliple listens, this is worth chasing up.
File under: Afternoon delight