Australia - Full Moon 94 - 06/03/04
Nights on the Town
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