Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Album Review - Know Your Destiny

by Chris Cavill and The Prospectors (out now)

Stand upon the broken lines,
Do we retreat,
Or do we go... 
 - 'Across The Border'

Do you like surprises? When it comes to music, I'm a big fan of listening to albums that take turns in some unexpected directions. Know Your Destiny, the debut album from Melbourne's Chris Cavill and The Prospectors is one of the nicest surprises I've been treated to in some time. It's a very personal album comprised of music jam packed with genuine emotion and stories of life, love and loss that we're all likely to have experienced at some point in our lives. But far from being the expected folky-Australian collection you might think you're stumbling into from the beginning with the instrumental 'Cooktown Sunrise', Know Your Destiny expands into territory that makes it largely unidentifiable as a single genre. It makes for a highly enjoyable listening experience as Cavill and principal Prospectors, Michael Maguire and Dave Cafarella, embrace elements of folk, country, reggae, rock and blues and roots. There's a lot of hats being worn here, but they're all stylishly pulled off and it makes for a timeless assembly of tracks you'll find yourself wanting to hear more and more.

While you wouldn't call Know Your Destiny easy-listening (which is apparently code for 'oldies' these days), the album is definitely easy to listen to. 'Across The Border' is enough to leave you completely relaxed. There's smooth harmonies in the vocal lines, driving percussion that finds the right balance to not be overbearing and strong lyricism in lines like, "all that we know is what keeps us alive." Cavill's skills as a songwriter are one of the album's major strengths throughout. You'll also find yourself loving the ukulele and harmonica more than you thought you were ever going to. This revelation will occur on the third track, 'Midnight Train' which features Ben Smith. Coming across as so much more than just a typical ballad, Melbourne itself becomes one of the song's leads, seedy lanes and all, on one of the Know Your Destiny highlights.

'Loretta' brings the bluesy guitars to the fore, as Cavill gets his croon on with the promise that, "most of all, yeah, I will be here 'til the end." If the Loretta in question is Cavill's wife, he's doing the whole husband thing better than you. We move from romance to straight up rock and roll with 'Out On the Water' and 'Lov'Em Til You Die'. These two would have to be major crowd-pleasers at a Prospectors live show, with that classic sounding guitar rock that you can't help but move to. Saving the best for last, we get two songs that are equally fantastic, but really couldn't be more different. At least in terms of story content. 'My Morning Grace' is from the perspective of someone so content, happy with their lot in life and of course it's happy... there's so much ukulele going on again. Cavill's literally singing about how all he sees is love and you? You're just going to have a big smile on your face and be happy for him, alright?

Compare that to 'San Diego', which is the low to the high of 'My Morning Grace'. "I'm only lost 'til I'm found, and right now seems so impossible, no one's going to find me now." Things do not seem to be going quite well, but it sure does make for a beautiful song. Top marks for the melody, lyrics and vocal performance. I say this a lot, I know, but the best way to end an album is with a memorable ballad and Chris Cavill and The Prospectors deliver that in spectacular fashion with 'San Diego'. For my money, it's the album's standout track. You're hearing someone pour their heart and soul into a track and you can actually feel that. There's a lot of debates about what makes 'real' music, but there's no doubt that this is real music. The same can be said about all of the tracks that make up Know Your Destiny.

Chris Cavill and The Prospectors left me more than pleasantly surprised with Know Your Destiny. It's a showcase for a group of talented artists that really know how to make that thing we all love (which is why you're here, right?), music. A highly recommended listen and I'll be looking forward to hearing more from the band and hopefully get a chance to see them live too. Go and give Know Your Destiny a listen.

Matt Bond gives Know Your Destiny four Beatles heads out of five...      


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