Monday, July 22, 2013

REVIEW: Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Any Port In A Storm

Any Port in a Storm is the kind of music I want hear in a roadhouse, or a basement bar.  I want to hear it in the same places I wanted to hear The Replacements and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers and The Lemonheads, and still would like to hear Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers.  It is scruffy, energetic, swaggering music.  It's performers, Scott & Charlene's Wedding are convinced of the saving power of rock and roll and, after listening, I want to believe too -- give me a couple of shots of what they are having.

Scott & Charlene's Wedding is the musical project of Australian ex-patriot Craig Dermody, who named his band after his mother's favorite TV soap.  Having decamped to New York City, he found inspiration for his second album in his attempt to navigate the his new city far from home country, family and friends.  Dermody's writing eschews poetry and politics for the observational and personal.  But the accomplishment is that the personal stories have enough detail to avoid being a young man's platitudes and enough universal truth that we 'get it' because we all have lived part of those stories ourselves.   We've moved to new cities "Fakin NYC", had difficulties with jobs ("Junk Shop"), been far from family when the shit hits the fan ("Lesbian Wife"), been dumped ("Spring St") and, just maybe, been saved a bit by rock and roll.  Throughout, Demody's passion seems to be for keeping his feet moving forward, however beat up he may be, rather than weeping through the night.  Even on the most touching song on the album, "Spring St" when he watches his former lover heading off with another guy even though Craig moved to New York to keep the sparks of romance hot, his conclusion is that it's a shame that this will be his memory of her rather than plot some glorious revenge.  And the ramshackle garage rock punctuated by scuzzy guitar riffs prove to be the perfect platform for Dermody's tales.

Live version of "Lesbian Wife" --

Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Lesbian Wife (Live @ The Victoria) from fire records on Vimeo.

Any Port In A Storm doesn't have perfect musicianship, perfect poetry, or perfect pitch, and at the end of the day none of that matters.  What it has is charm, sincerity and "guy next door" appeal; and in all that there is a certain genius.  Over the past month, this album has been played more than twice as much as any other album I have been evaluating.  I highly recommended it.

The album is available today from Fire Records.  You can also check iTunes and Amazon.

Fire Records

The remaining European tour dates:

22 July: Schoken, Stuttgart, Germany
25 July: Knust, Hamburg, Germany
27 July: Karrera Klub, Berlin, Germany
1 August: Broadcast, Glasgow, UK
3 August: The Tunnels, Aberdeen, UK
7 August: Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, UK
8 August: Tie Dye Tapes, Sheffield, UK
9 August: Head of Steam, Newcastle, UK
10 August: Sound It Out Records (in store), Stockton on Tees, UK
10 August: Rook & Gaskill, York, UK
11 August: Urban Outfitters (instore), York, UK
13 August: Wharf Chambers, Leeds, UK 
14 August: Arts Centre, Colchester, UK
15 August: The Music Exchange (instore), Nottingham, UK
15 August: The Hairy Dog, Derby, UK 
16 August: Yard Party Festival, London, UK 
16 August: Flashback (instore), London, UK

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