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coverpic flag Australia - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 4 - 02/22/97

Small World Experience
Either Way Records (PO Box 5656, West End, QLD 4101)

Many a time has Brisbane made reference to its family tree of linked key players and their intertwined side-project bands, but if you look real close and squint to see the core of this tree you will find Brisbane's best, Small World Experience, waving back. On these recordings Small World Experience are Pat Ridgeway and Ian Wadley, with a little bit of help on bass by Julian Patterson, and between the three they have formed or played in a long history of Bris bands such as Minimum Chips, Gus, Frankenstein, and Clag. Whilst the circle of bands is somewhat self-perpetuating and self-reliant within Brisbane, they have spread their musical clique further south and to the west to include Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne key players also. The influence of Small World Experience stretches wide.

Following a cassette on the Melbourne Spill label and a few 7" and 10" pressings, Shelf-Life is the first dabblings for S.W.E. in the shiny disc format. It was recorded and mixed in a number of lounge rooms doubling as make-shift studio spaces and without the glamour of a big label budget, but the sounds emerging from their four track never faulters through this lack of techincal sophistication, rather, it takes upon the homely honesty of their surroundings. The twelve song recording opens with a self-titled track, S.W.E., only to immediately form a struggle between obviousness and a thick coating of subtlety only to emerge somewhere near tasteful modesty. Pat's soft voice lures you in on a wave of cleaverly constructed lyrical webs which evolve over the course of the album, leaving you open armed as the guitar wash over. By the third song you're trapped.

S.W.E. engulf a very Brisbane sound which perhaps is a sound they themselves pioneered and are still riding softly some years later, but it is a sound that does itself finest justice performed live. An energy that does not translate to recording or an intensity that is emitted by the band members themselves, Shelf-Life doesn't quite document the real thing but comes so close you can hardly breathe. Small World Experience fill the room with the beautiful crafted guitars and vocals mixed with a subtle genius songwriting of Brisbane's unsung finest.

Copyright © 1997 Tricia Waterman e-mail address

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