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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 80 - 04/16/03

Hitchcock's Regret
Her Life in Reverse
Laughing Outlaw Records

Any album that sounds slightly Beatles-ish and emanates from Australia and/or New Zealand is ultimately doomed to comparisons with Neil Finn and Crowded House. There's folk out there under the impression a gaping hole has been left after the demise of the abovementioned popsters, but let me tell ya that it just ain't the case, especially after hearing this album by Sydney band Hitchcock's Regret.

Ahhh, now that I've got that off my chest let's just say that this is the most impressive local pop album I've heard in quite a long time. It has all the great ingredients - harmonies, a rich layering and depth of instrumentation, an unhurried approach in the construction of each track - that it continues to overwhelm with repeated spins.

Beach Boys-style rattling percussion and vocals usher in "She's All That I Think About", before a bouncy romp through the lyric capturing the descent into an all-consuming relationship. A daydream mood runs through the whole set, with "Space & Time", the gorgeous "Milkwood Moon" and the disjointed vocals on "Tripping On a Wire" giving the impression the 'Regret have grabbed these tunes from thin air.

Michael Carpenter, an outstanding artist in his own right and general gun for hire in Sydney's pop n' country scene, lends production and instrumentation (guitar, mellotron and harmonium) that adds depth to an already accomplished band. The full, rich layered sound here is handled expertly, in a situation where lesser bands would most probably have stumbled and come on all heavy-handed. Carpenter has excelled in producing an album that continues to reveal itself after many listens.

In these times of post-post-rock and b-grade Led Zep prog fuzz, it is heartening to hear a band willing to adhere to certain traditions whilst cooking up some richly-layered and intricately constructed pop. Her Life in Reverse should allow them to enter the big stage with pop's other major league players (ie. Wilco, Coldplay, Doves etc.). On the evidence of what they have laid down here, Hitchcock's Regret deserve to enter that major arena.

Copyright © 2003 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

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