Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 83 - 07/13/03

Grant Meffan
Living Remains
Space Junk / MGM

The solo debut release for Grant Meffan, who fronted Sydney fuzzy pedal-treaders Starbelly in the early to mid-nineties. Between the demise of that outfit and on evidence of his songwriting efforts on show here, Meffan has certainly matured.

The album rests on a soft bed of atmos-style electronics and acoustic strumming, perfectly captured by producer/artist-in-his-own right Tim Powles. The unassuming sound suits Meffan's gentle, almost spoken vocal and makes for a chilled listen. "In Trouble With God" lifts impressively in the chorus and contains enough hooks to keep the punters returning. The continual electro pulse throughout Living Remains, particularly on "Be The One" keeps it all rolling along in an interesting way, similar to Alex Lloyd's approach on his outstanding Black the Sun album a few years back.

Whilst the varied production and stronger songs convey Meffan's talent, the album seemingly suffers in part to its long gestation period - a minor problem easily solved by perhaps by a more spare, immediate approach next go round to capture a more animated performance from Meffan. That said, "New Age Daughter" is an absolute cracker, reminiscent to these ears of the conversational style adopted by Robert Forster on Calling From a Country Phone. Intricately constructed, the melancholy mood and words such as "wounds from our failure remain open wide/I'd never regret you I'd never expect you to die" are captured to overwhelming effect.

"Taking a Chance" brings the album to a close in an otherwordly/daydreamy fashion. Those listening closely to Living Remains would not be surprised to discover producer Tim Powles' has had recent involvement in The Church - in other words, he's no slouch in laying down rich dreamscapes for songwriters! A strong debut and one where Meffan can only find further strength in forthcoming releases.

Copyright © 2003 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

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