At the request of the label, mp3 downloads are not available for this
It's never easy to pinpoint exactly where Augie March are coming from, but
it's abundantly clear where they're not. They're a band apart from the nowhere
music that's everywhere and maybe a century or two removed from the desperate
bang and chatter of the vapid pop/ rock zeitgeist.
See, in a world gone mad with window-dressing, Augie March actually make
stuff. Their albums are leather bound volumes on a shelf groaning with tatty
magazines. They're the old family roast joint across the street from the
plastic strip mall takeaway. And singer-songwriter Glenn Richards is a real
live poet with a six-stringed loom. The guy doesn't even dance.
"Poems used to be called songs," he says, by way of describing
his general motivation. "I'm very keen on the idea of bringing that
full circle. I love the way words can move together and I guess I find music
a natural vehicle for that."
Moo, You Bloody Choir is Augie March's third album. It may be that you're
still swimming in the prismatic wordplay and intriguing sonic details of
their ecstatically acclaimed Sunset Studies (2000) and Strange Bird (2002)
albums, but neither disposability nor immediate transparency are high among
this Melbourne band's strengths. So sue them. Or lend an ear.
'One Crowded Hour', the song that sets the scene quoted above, is a typically
loaded invitation into Augie March's world. It spins from a gentle finger-picked
waltz into an epic melodrama piled high with layers of fleeting joy and
dashed hope, all gathering spin under some drunken mirror ball.
Moo, You Bloody Choir was recorded in Melbourne, San Francisco and the band's
own Second World studio in Nagambie in country Victoria. It was variously
produced by Australian studio legend Paul McKercher, by Captain Beefheart/
PJ Harvey alumnus Eric Drew Feldman, and by Augie March , and was mixed
by Mark Howard (Time Out Of Mind - Bob Dylan).
"I guess I could be guilty of being anachronistic with the kinda themes
of some of these songs," Glenn admits, "but a general idea is
to tie a notion of the historical to the contemporary: 'Why do we have this
society that we have right now?' That idea interests me somehow.
"As usual there's nothing you can directly glean," he says with
an almost apologetic laugh, "because I'm not a very literal songwriter.
I'm just hoping that imagery will suffice." The album's climactic,
string-woven epic, 'Clockwork', perhaps puts that another way:
"O but I didn't write this song with a machine, And I don't know how
to stop it from its accidental purpose."
If that kind of imagery doesn't suffice, well, there's always those nonsense
bars with their nowhere music...