Search - Augie March :: Strange Bird

Strange Bird
Augie March
Strange Bird
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Augie March is a band whose very name was poached from perhaps THE great American novel, to give the people of America an inkling of the underside of Australia. In 2002, the band had set up camp in a disused telephone comp...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Augie March
Title: Strange Bird
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Spin Art
Release Date: 9/14/2004
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Australia & New Zealand, Singer-Songwriters, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 750078015320

Synopsis

Album Description
Augie March is a band whose very name was poached from perhaps THE great American novel, to give the people of America an inkling of the underside of Australia. In 2002, the band had set up camp in a disused telephone company building in outer Melbourne to write the album that would become Strange Bird. It covers a lot of sonic terrain, veering from the sweet, building harmony of The Vineyard, through the Wild West gallop of This Train, the heavy Song in the Key of Chance and muted melancholy of O Mi Sol Mi Lon to the plaintive balladry of The Night is A Blackbird, and that?s all in the first twenty minutes. It was released in Australia in October 2002 and did great things. A few insightful American music journalists from Rolling Stone to The Big Takeover to the All Music Guide have caught wind of the release and have already signed on as their champions.The rest of the world is about to catch up. The US release of Strange Bird contains the award winning videos for "The Vineyard" and "Little Wonder."

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CD Reviews

I was going to only give it four stars but.....
special K | 03/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A year and half since I first bought it and still discovering how good this album is. The depth and richness of both the lyrics and music are simply unparalleled by any contemporary band I've heard. The new album is finally out....living in the States, I'll have to wait a little while for it to arrive. So for the past few weeks I've been listening to this one a lot, and developing a newer, deeper appreciation.
I heard the last 30 seconds or so of "Train" on the radio while flipping through the stations. Made it a point to stay on the station after it was over, to get the band's name. Oggie Mark, or something. Made a mental note to not forget it-the song was too cool and I had to hear the whole thing. Haven't heard them on U.S. radio more than twice since. Went home, went on amazon, typed up the name and- ah- Augie March, from a Saul Bellows novel. Underground Australian band. Read the reviews for this album and figured it was worth the $14.00 or so. Haven't looked back since.
I think the crown jewel of Augie's music is definitely the lyrics. Glen Richards' love of-and mastery of- language is apparent throughout the album. I would go so far as to say, if there was such a thing as virtuoso lyricism, this is it. Glen uses grammar, vocabulary, rhyme, etc., to bend and polish the lines of each song into uncommonly vivid and breathtaking imagery. Every word is necessary, carefully chosen; each song has it's own logic, it's own resolution. I'm no expert on poetry, but a while ago it became a sort of high compliment to call rock musicians "poets"- from Dylan & Morrison to Eminem & Tupac. Well sir, this is poetry. It borders on affectation- lots of "O'"s and "a'"s- and sometimes crosses the line- "Brundisium" (awesome song, but some of the lyrics don't quite do it for me) and particulary "O Song" (I just think songs about songwriting are the height or pretense)- I feel are examples of that. And I'll be honest- I will probably never know what some songs are about ("There's something at the bottom of the Black Pool"- cool imagery, no idea what he's talking about). From what I've gathered Glen is very well read and a lot of these lyrics allude to the works of authors like T.S. Elliot. Again, that might be a wee bit pretenious.
But this is ok; because as high-fallutin' as the lyrics are, what gives them weight is the incredible music. Effortlessly diverse- from jazz to folk to heavy-retro-psychedelic-whatever. Never sounds forced or contrived, and utterly devoid of cliche or filler. I hear Pink Floyd mainly, also The Beatles, maybe a little Radiohead. Like all great pop music, it's when the lyrics and music intertwine and feed off of each other that the best results are achieved. And the results are sublime....I feel the best tracks on the album are "Train" and "Little Wonder". "Train" is just the best song of this century (that I've heard) and on track to be one of my favorite songs ever. Absolutely timeless. And "Little Wonder"- well the last verse of that song.... with the terribly sad, almost disturbingly vivid lyrics juxtaposed with the bittersweet lullaby-like melody...well, you just have to hear it. Other standout tracks include "The Vineyard", "O Mi So Li Lon/Song in the Key...", and especially "The Drowning Dream" (although again- no clue on the lyrics, except that there are very dreamy). I dig the heavier and psychedelic stuff the most.
So why almost only 4 stars, after all this gushing? Like most albums today, it's too long. A record with 8 great songs is superior to one with 8 great and 4 mediocre! There are a couple songs I wouldn't miss if they weren't included. And there are flow problems....The lilting "Little Wonder" works great after the manic ride of "Train"- but then you have another, even slower song in "The Night is a Blackbird". Beautiful song, but a bit of a pill. And the middle of the album kind of drags with several mid-tempo, jazzy songs in a row. Good songs- I love "The Keepa"- but one after the other like that-kind of a drag.
But in spite of this, I have to give it 5 stars. The other day I was listening to "Addle Brains"- an ok song- and the lyrics just clicked- it's about a homeless man and apathy. Now I have a whole new appreciation for the song. That is what I mean about the depth of this album....over a year later and I'm still discovering it. It's not like I've been listening to it straight for a year and half, but every few months I get the urge and dive right in. That is worth 5 stars. If you can't tell, I highly recommend it....a unique and beautiful experience awaits you. No matter what music you're into (I'm an 80's Metal/Classic Rock guy!). Get it! Now!"
Undiscovered genius
Jeremy Young | Melbourne, Australia | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What. An. Album. What. A. Band.

Seriously, if you haven't heard of this band, go out and by both of their albums now. Go on, I'll wait for you. They are probably one of the greatest bands in the world at the moment. And their new album comes out this year. Yippee!

I'm not quite sure how to describe this music. Indie-folk-pop, perhaps? Well, it's an extremely diverse album. One second you are listening to the chamber pop of The vineyard, the next song This train will be taking no passengers sounds like a lost Pogues number. Glenn Richards (the lead singer and songwriter) has a real way with words. He scatters literary references throughout his songs. His songs are gems of melodic beauty, complex without losing sight of what makes a song enjoyable -- a great tune.

Album of the year no doubt."