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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

YIS Recommends: Dan Kelly's Dream

There was a time in my life that I probably listened to no Australia music, because, well, a lot of Australian music is utter crap (not that other countries don't produce crap music, it either just doesn't make it out of the country or ends up of MMM where nobody listens to it anyway). The few instances that I did listen to Australian music, it was always the type of music that didn't sound particularly Australian (I think my first favourite Australian band after my Skyhooks obsession at age 4 was probably Rocket Science). To my teenage ears, the problem was that most Australian recordings sounded pretty awful (the same way that Australian films tend look dull and have this absence of vibrance in the colours of the picture that's just uninspiring), and bands from overseas just sounded better and more interesting. There was one instance on my first day of Year 7 in a new school where I was asked if I listened to Triple J (I had never heard of it) to which I replied that I listened to "gangsta rap like N.W.A." (for which I was ridiculed until they all got into rap in Year 10, after which it reverted back just to fat jokes). I turned on JJJ one night for a half hour, ended up buying Regurgitator's Unit and chucked out the rest.

Anyway, as you would have realised from the last post, there are more and more Australian bands that I'm growing to love; The Drones being one of the more recent bands that can stand tall against the bombast of the best internationals while sounding distinctly Australian, as well as Eddy Current being one of the best things ever who never even think about apologising about where they're from or who they are. And, yeah, the new Dan Kelly album.

I wasn't really a massive fan of Dan up until this point; a few live performances with the Alpha Males and an enjoyable yet largely uninspiring slot with The Ukelaides at Meredith didn't really make me want to rush out and grab anything (and in addition, the "Drowning In The Fountain Of Youth" came out when I was toiling away in a Country Road stockroom, and it's twee-as-fuck bubbliness in contrast to my no-natural-light box of pain made me want to murder, but anyway...). After seeing a pretty great set with The Dream Band at the "last ever" Tote show started to change my mind ever so slightly (despite the fact that Dan allegedly drooled on Bronwyn), and then I found a copy of Dan Kelly's Dream on the coffee table on Saturday morning.

Why this album is not shit:

It sounds amazing. As in, it doesn't sound like shit that was made in a day on a shoestring budget. The mix is great. The instrumentation is really lush and bold. Whoever mastered it did a great job. The instruments all sit in the right spot, or pop out at the right moment. It's not a boring listen.

It's inviting. The lyrics can sound a bit obtuse or sometimes self-aware, but it in contrast to something like, say, Beach House (which tends to evoke similar warm, often aquatic feelings), it feels a lot more welcoming and personable and just plain fun. It's cool, but it doesn't feel too exclusive.

It flows. The song order is spot on, and it flows in a way that works so well; yes, it's very, er, dreamlike in the way that it runs, with a lot of the songs segueing into each one another. Often this can lead to skippable filler or drone that, well, drones on for too long, and often means that some songs feel incomplete outside the context of the album due to an abrupt start and end. Not here.

The songs are great. The songs are great.

And there's more reasons, but you'll figure that out when you hear the album. I'm really enjoying it, and it's been one of the few experiences (along with the first time I watched Office Space) where I felt like putting it straight back after the first time round and actually did.

Kudos, Dan Kelly.


  1. YEAH! well said.

  2. Listening to now, it doesn't seem too bad. Pretty likeable actually.