DAVE GRANEY FEARFUL WIGGINGS (Fuse) *****If I've learnt anything
in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything
of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's
generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible,
to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second
credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious
yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much
percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've
awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel.
It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old
Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out
of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is
Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues,
nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond
Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens
in the telling.
The latest installment from iconic Melbourne musician (and
Triple R broadcaster!) Dave Graney is as compelling and unique as ever.
On this record we hear the distinctive vocals and poetically concise
lyricism Dave is known for presented in new and ever more expressive
sonic form. Throughout the course of the album Dave Graney and partner
Clare Moore explore everything from sparse folk, jazz, to adventurous
art pop, all with a richly textured ambience. simon winkler RRRfm
- Fearful Wiggings is the latest addition to the extensive
back catalogue that is Dave Graney’s. Ever the contrarian, this
mainly acoustic effort follows on from the seriously rocking album that
was Dave Graney and the MistLY’s You’ve Been In My Mind,
and from the first notes, one can’t help but reflect on just how
self-determined Dave is. From his work in The Moodists, with The Coral
Snakes and the MistLY, and with roughly two dozen albums under his belt,
Dave has never been beholden to trends, never one to accept mediocrity
and has always searched for his own voice. This has been happening over
five decades. Dave hasn’t gone away, he’s kept coming up
with the goods.
It all begins with the glorious A Woman Skinnies a Man Up, a song for
the aspirational romancer inside all of us, desperate to find that special
one. One doesn’t need to consult the non-verbal dictionary here,
Dave has laid it all out for us. How Can You Get Out of London is possibly
a meditation on years gone by, a stint living in the English capital
and subsequent abrupt ending. Country Roads, Unwinding details a love
of long-distance driving. It also makes an important point, Dave is no
farmer. What Dave is however, is a great documenter, and never dull.
His songwriting subjects cover any matter of curiosities, something which
is strongly stamped on this album.
The title track Fearful Wiggings though, deserves its own review. A dedication
to his musical partner of many years, Clare Moore, it’s a courageous
song in that it’s deeply personal. It speaks of the union that
has defined a lifetime of music. It feels like you’re watching
an old European film, it’s both touching and at times hilarious.
The line “Now’s not the time for tears / Don’t know
when that is” simply floors, whilst the image of Dave riding a
scooter off the train into city traffic is laugh out loud funny. And
well, “all this emotional stuff,” people do lap it up!
Technically speaking, Dave’s vocals and guitar playing really come
to the fore on this album. The vocals were recorded by Lisa Gerrard (of
Dead Can Dance) at her rural Victorian property and one could argue Dave’s
voice has never sounded better. Nick Harper, son of folk legend Roy,
supplies some stellar guitar parts. Clare Moore provides her backing
vocals and percussion to many of the songs with great effect.
All in all, it continues the musical journey of Dave Graney. For all
of those already familiar with the story, they will find a new love with
this album. It may take a few listens, but arguably all the best albums
do. - Ian Powne.TripleZed fm Brisbane
The thing to note is the billing. No ‘&’.
This is Lord Graney alone, other than consort Clare Moore on various percussiony
things, and occasional guitar embroideries from Nick Harper – son
of the near-legendary Roy. The songs’ subject matter is his usual
observer’s musings on the human condition and worldview, but presented
here as quieter conversations – sometimes in a highway servo café (Country
Roads, Unwinding) or, as in The Old Docklands Wheel, perhaps a ‘60s
coffee house beat poet overheard down the hall. Ross Clelland Drum Some physicists believe that what we assume to be the world around us is
actually a holographic projection. If that's so, where does Dave Graney's
reality fit? On Fearful Wiggings Graney is in soft and crooning jazz-lounge
mode, casting his idiosyncratic gaze to London, Australian rural culture
and his own existentialist personality (I'm the Stranger in Town). On the
album's title track Graney pays romantic tribute to his wife and long-term
musical partner Clare Moore; on Everything Is Perfect In Its Beginning
he celebrates the purity of original thought. Maybe Dave Graney exists
only in his own realm and all we can see is his projection. PATRICK EMERY the Shortlist
Dave Graney explains things this way: “[t]he title
comes from a 1920s book of French stories. I came across a new word and
looked it up in the glossary and the meaning was put as ‘fearful
wiggings’. I took it to mean ‘great anxiety’.”
Thankfully, with the exception of Everything Is Perfect In It’s Beginning
[sic], there is nothing anxiety-provoking about the album. Rather, his
latest, stylish collection of musings is mostly soothing.
It’s unmistakably Graney. The album is carefully crafted and a beautiful,
languorous listen. In a time where 30-minute albums are de rigueur, the
longer play is refreshing.
The songs are united by a dream-like lethargy. We are kicked out of the
idyll only temporarily in Everything Is Perfect In It’s Beginning.
It’s discordant – purposefully so and makes for unsettling
listening. Otherwise, nothing’s urgent here. Sometime’s Graney’s
barely singing and the album is sparsely arranged.
It’s worth noting that he is joined on I Know You Can’t See
Me by Lisa Gerrard, but you wouldn’t know it. She can sing the shit
out of anything, but her vocals are confined to background ambience. It’s
a sad song, with lines like, “I know you can’t see me, since
I quit drinking.”
Mostly though, the lyrics are surreal. Who the hell knows what’s
going on? It doesn’t matter. It’s always been hard to know
whether Graney is taking the piss. This album is no different. He’s
smarter than the rest of us, but again, it doesn’t matter. Just listen…