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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 51 - 12/11/00

Augie March
Sunset Studies
BMG

A new acquaintance from down under. Melbourne quartet Augie March have come up with a really impressing debut album. Fronted by Glenn Richards they present a rich variety of indeed tasty pop music. Not without pretentiousness, but definitely with punch. Richards, who's written all of the 15 songs except one (a traditional folk song), has said he wants to create "a postcard from a lost civilization (where arty boys play aggressive football with arty girls)". Oh yeah?

Augie March, "nicking" their name from the Saul Bellow novel The Adventures of Augie March, sure create a rich and dreamlike sound throughout the album, with a lot of instruments (guitars, piano, banjo, dobro, piano accordian, hammond, keys, strings and horns) making Sunset Studies a joyful journey. They open quietly with The Hole In Your Roof, murmuring, before rising almost to a crescendo, and most of the time they keep their "voices" low. That said Sunset Studies shows power and Richards shows great skills as a pop-song-writer. References could be Ben Christophers, Travis, the Triffids, and Trashcan Sinatras. Even the Beatles comes to mind in one of the songs, Tasman Awakens (with some parts slightly reminiscent to Norwegian Wood!). The album feels maybe a bit to long, but there are a lot of highs on the way. Such as the sparkling Maroondah Reservoir, the ballad beauty There Is No Such Place, the whispering, elf-like Angels Of The Bowling Green, and my two favorites Heartbeat And Sails and Here Comes The Night. Simply perfect pop.

Sunset Studies is the sum of truth, love, peace, bounty, usefulness and harmony, like Augie from the novel discovers. Take a chance and let Augie March carry you away. To quote a line from the song The Offer: "If you've never heard the music you never will".

Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Augie March article/review: A Dog Starved.

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