Update: I’ve heard the single, and it’s pretty cool. Definitely on the “Andy” end of McGlashan’s spectrum, lyric and lovely rather than challenging. I’m hoping that they picked the most accessible song for the radio single, and that there’s more tricky stuff on the album — like “Walk Around the House” where at first you think it doesn’t have a melody, then you listen a few more times until you realise that without noticing it you’ve fallen in love… “Miracle Sun” is much easier on that that on first listening, but I suspect it will also grow on me.
Who is Don McGlashan, you ask? Ever heard of The Mutton Birds? Even if you did, unless you’re a Kiwi you probably thought they were British. Ok, so Rain, Steam and Speed was recorded in London and went big, but Kiwis know what “Dominion Rd” is all about. Don McGlashan is behind most of their stuff, in particular the tracks that give me shivers. “White Valient”, “A Thing Well Made”, two songs about tragedies in NZ. You don’t have to know the stories to hear that there’s something not right. “Too Close To The Sun”: joint credits for the music with guitarist David Long —and it’s fantastic— but the lyrics are McGlashan’s:
Neighbour of mine
Got out of his car somewhere down country in weather like this
He just disappeared, left the engine running
The police came to talk to his wife
I watched them from my window. She was shaking her head
The cops were standing with their big hands hanging down.
If you’ve ever visited me in A’dam, I’ve probably made you listen to that song.
If you haven’t visited me (and you’re my age, or European), odds are you’ve never heard of The Front Lawn either. It’s McGlashan again, before The Mutton Birds, with Harry Sinclair; only two albums, but what albums they are. “How Ya Doin’?” (comedy in broad Kiwi), “Andy” (exquisite and personal songwriting), “The Beautiful Things” (over-the-top satire of consumer culture), “Walk Around the House” (with a melody that will make you shiver), the “Wedding Song” recording the marriage of a man and a washing machine… these guys are all over the place, and I wish I had seen them live. (I was about eight at the time, perhaps I wouldn’t have got so much from the show.)
Yeah, McGlashan. Amazing songwriter, I’m crazy excited about this one. He’s on myspace, where apparently you can hear a track from the album — unless, like me, you can’t get the sound working on the flash player. (Pause for fit of impatient cursing.)
So: Kiwis, “Miracle Sun” has been playing on the radio — how does it sound? And non-Kiwis: if you come by, you know what to suggest when I ask you to pick the music.
[via Nate Cull, although he doesn't know it]