Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 90 - 02/06/04

Major
The Bliss Domestic
Laughing Outlaw Records

A hectic year for tasty Australian pop, 2003 being the year Perth shuffled blinking into the international spotlight courtesy of The Sleepy Jackson's Lovers set, not to mention The Panics album A House on a Street in a Town Where I'm From.

Folks all over the nation were producing equally interesting & quality catchiness, something lost on music's bean-counters and here's where Major rate a mention. Comprising all five tracks from their earlier cracker Summer EP and then some, The Bliss Domestic is certainly a strong debut album, though one that seemed to escape much deserved attention at the time of its release. A chance meeting saw English producer Paul Gommersall (Blur & Prefab Sprout) roped in to add a special something. At the warm core of Bliss is a simple sweetness and unabashed pop full o' melodies n' gorgeous harmonies. Equal parts Beatles, Sydney's gone but not forgotten popsters The Welcome Mat and Crowded House, it's tastily laced with some darker and interesting twists n' turns to keep you on yer toes.

A mystery of track sequencing sees them open with the pretty n' subdued "Clown of the Show", while "Smart Casual" gets things cracking, before winding down in a whiff of "Paperback Writer" harmonies. The bittersweet title track has a restless resignation about it, "the bliss domestic, so majestic for everybody else". "Big Deal" is a damn fine Sunday strum, while "Mr Whistle" provides an apt backdrop to the lot of a once happy early morning bread-runner (think Kinks and Hourly Daily-era You Am I). "Shake" sees them letting loose in an electrifried psych hoedown. Only quibble about Bliss is the vocals tending to grate in closer "The Time Honoured Way".

Throughout it all the brothers Murphy provide a soul strum and top it off with a layer of stirring harmonies, displaying a penchant for writing songs of strength & clarity. A high time for hook-laden pop for sure and this is yet another example, reminding me at times of other fine purveyors Icecream Hands and perhaps a nod to Grandprix-era Teenage Fanclub (yep, that catchy!). Well worth throwing a quid at if you want to upsize your harmonic pop intake. Take it home, turn it up and make the terracotta tiles tremble overhead - it really is the bliss domestic!

Copyright © 2004 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

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