Review Summary: Still no closer to the truth about love, our hero tries his hand at a much bigger picture.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Aside from his monthly column in Triple J’s J-Mag and turning up sporadically on RocKwiz, not many people know just what the hell Brisbane’s bastard son, David McCormack, has been up to lately. It’s been nearly a decade since the band he made his name in, Custard, called it a day; and half of that decade since the release of his solo record, The Truth About Love
. If we hadn’t known McCormack better, maybe we’d be thinking he’d become bored with the music game. It’s lucky we do know him better, too – the sneaky bastard has been hard at work on a twenty-track epic, split strategically over four sections; and it’s finally ready to see the light of day.
The album in question, Little Murders
, is such a vast collection of songs that it spans out like a career. It fearlessly plays hopscotch in-between summery indie-tweaked pop and more darkly-shaded rock – and it doesn’t stop there. In amidst the album’s ambitions comes elevator-music jazz, spaghetti western guitar, baleful swing and bare acoustic-based numbers – sometimes in quick succession of one another.
Of course, an album with such frog-leap diversity isn’t going to leave an impression with every single track. The one-two of “Living Under the Flight-Path With You” and “Do Anything For Your Love”, for instance, will probably be dismissed by most as pure cheese; while the self-referential “Old Man Davey” is almost destined to offput. Even still, some of McCormack’s best work is to be found here. The lovely “Landslides” commences with waltzing piano before issuing in a charming ballad of breathy harmonies, swaying acoustic strum and a bizarre big-band interlude. “Make Believe” recalls early nineties You Am I with its mid-tempo cruise and big, sing-along chorus; while “Future Ghosts” and “A.V.O.” are the closest sounding to Custard we’re going to get anytime soon failing a reunion.
McCormack remains a strong, endlessly puzzling lyricist. His irony-laden, situation-based lyrics recall writers as diverse as Tim Rogers, Robert Forster and Paul Kelly. Even with the comparisons quite easily made, David maintains a style that is distinguishably his. The album sees him crooning about everything from twisted romances (“If I put an A.V.O. out on you/Will you put an A.V.O. out on me?”) and the consequences of the party lifestyle (“The good times keep following me around/As much as I try to shake them off”) to pondering where he currently stands in his own life (“I have not lost the will to live/But I might have spent it all”). Even the less interesting numbers still manage to reel you in on the basis of your desire to hear exactly what he’s going to say next – of course, the calling card of any great lyricist.
There’s a very good chance that you will not listen to Little Murders
all the way through more than once. It’s still worth a shot, however. It plays out like sitting through a film: occasionally dazzling highs, dull lows and an irrepressible lead character.