Tuesday, 18 November 2014

EP Review - The Empty Glimmer

The Empty Glimmer 
by Crazy Old Maurice (available 21/11/14 on bandcamp)

The constant great thing about music is its ability to take it's listener away from wherever it is they find themselves on say, a dull afternoon and place them somewhere else. Well, I guess not literally, after all, when I'm listening to Taylor Swift in my PJ's, I'm not really on a dance floor somewhere, because my PJ's wouldn't necessarily be the correct attire for a dance floor, depending on the night, I suppose, but you know what I mean. So this means when I'm sitting at my laptop listening to an independent Australian artist I didn't know before last month, I'm not actually sitting at a darkened bar somewhere, playing the piano to three drunk patrons in the corner, but it sure feels like I could be.

And so here I am, not in front of my laptop, but in front of that piano. I think I'm wearing a really elaborate dress, it probably has sequins of some description and in my hand is a glass, with liquor, some kind of tasty liquor (this could be part of the laptop reality). I'm not sad, just a little bit desperate (this could also be part of the laptop reality), I'm wonderfully desperate and so begins my journey into the world of Crazy Old Maurice. The first and title track from their debut EP is a perfect trip to somewhere dark, cosy and uncomfortably nice and only the beginning of the walk into the minds of Caitlin O'Reilly, Tim Evans and Mike Collins.

It's not far into The Empty Glimmer that I realise the filthy piano bar isn't the only place I'm going to visit with this three piece from Newcastle. I'm not sure if 'This Broken Town' is referring to their hometown, after all, I've only been a couple of times, but I'm not sure I saw the spots that are as pretty as the sounds they've created with some mesmerising keys on that second track. 'Sacred Ground' is a trip to all sorts of crazy; a club in the 80s, some massive hair and a guitar solo three and a half minutes in makes for an interesting visit to a couple of decades ago and it's a talented band that can take their listeners from a piano bar to a town in NSW to the hedonistic 80s all in one EP.

It's also a talented band that understand the journey they are taking their listeners on and know how quickly they take them from one place to the next is as important as the destinations themselves. The perfectly positioned track three; 'Another Day' is their example of that, it's sinister sounds marvellously tense, uncomfortable, a little bit fabulous and if I'm honest, probably the track that keeps dragging me back to the play button at the start of this whole EP. It's followed by a ride to somewhere I didn't expect to end up, but felt safe upon arrival.  

'Lullaby Of Light And Shade' with it's horn section, sweet vocals and swinging tempo doesn't just belong on an EP; this is the middle of a musical, this is a collection of characters and drama and a story bigger than one little song can hold. It couldn't possibly have been named better, the title describing it's three and a half minute adventure perfectly. I'm a sucker for the lullaby and this one could be one of my faves for the year.

Which brings us to the final track on this delightful little journey that is The Empty Glimmer and this one takes us to somewhere a little bit special. I could say I was on top of a mountain, I could say I was driving a highway, I could say I was staring at the ocean, I could say I was right back at that filthy and beautiful piano bar, but all of those places would be lies. This one took me to somewhere I only like to visit every now and then and sometimes it's a fabulous journey and sometimes it's more distressing than not, but it's somewhere I'm comfortable with either way and that place is my own story, my own memories and thoughts.

"I can't deny love's a strange and bitter fruit..." indeed it is Maurice, you Crazy Old character, whoever you are, you took me on a journey far away and right back home with this EP and it's one I think I'll happily take again and again and again.

Jo Michelmore gives The Empty Glimmer three and a half Sarah Blasko heads out of five...

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