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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 94 - 06/03/04

Royal Chord
Nights on the Town
Cavalier Music

Checking your inbox (y'know the mailbox out the front?) can often be fraught with disappointment. Overly-hyped releases get mailed, stuff gets way too talked-up before you even get a listen... & comes the time you crack it open n' crank it, only to be defeated by a band that should've perhaps played together before they recorded, pumping out some dreaded kinda post-rock and preachin' some phoney lonely cacophony.

Not so on this occasion, as Royal Chord have it sorted in the rehearsal, execution and recording/production department. Principal songwriters Tammy Haider & Eliza Hiscox cover a mighty breadth of styles with such ease there ain't nothing they cain't tackle on Nights on The Town.

"Someday" with its light touch of brass reminds me of the Chester side-project (Josh Rouse & Kurt Wagner) from several years ago, quaint & sweet. The Belly-like "Cure for a Broken Heart" is an absolute gem, a beautiful melodic strum and catchy as all get-out.

"Hanging Round Here" contains more than a whiff of small town desolation about it and "Through The Trees", with its soothing warm strum and dreamy vocals taking centrestage before it spirals & tumbles toward an end. "Hanging Round Here II" drives home the dusky rural holler themes featured throughout the album with its whistle and footstomp interlude.

"Yeah, it's all about the moosic, maan", but each listen of the album has me turning the cover over n' over in my hands, a beautifully laid out piece o' packaging it is too - would sure remind many of a bleary-eyed night on the town. Inside cover band shots are shot-through with plenty of bar-style romance, a gorgeous little visual tour.

For all the talk of Scud Mountain Boys and Calexico et al, I'm most reminded of long lost locals The Jackson Code when I hear the 'Chord. It's dependant upon what you're fond of from yer listening past I guess. Despite all this lazy comparing & name-dropping, Royal Chord can most definitely stand alone on their collective feet.

Only gripe with the release is some stronger editing could've stopped the meander here and there on what is otherwise a strong and interesting effort. Full of romance and whimsy and not a little darkness, pretty sublime really. Tapas, sangria and Royal Chord, now there's a night on the town.

Copyright © 2004 Brian Stradbrook e-mail address

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