An Australian Dance/Electro-pop band, formed in 2001 by Dan Whitford. He released the single "1981" and "I Thought of Numbers EP" on his own before being joined in 2003 by Tim Hoey, Mitchell Scott and Bennett Foddy. Together they released the album "Bright Like Neon Love" in 2004, after which Foddy left the band to focus on studying for a PhD. They released their second album, "In Ghost Colours", in 2008, which made its début on the ARIA Charts at #1. The album received near-universal critical acclaim and has become very popular in Australia.
Bright Like Neon Love
- Time Stands Still
- Saturdays (Reprise)
- Going Nowhere
- That Was Just A Dream
- Zap Zap (on the back cover drawn as two little lightning bolts)
- The Twilight
- Autobahn Music Box
- Bright Neon Payphone
- A Dream
This album is much more club-oriented than its successor; that is that it is quite repetitive, as are the lyrics. As a club album it excels, being very danceable and less generic than most club music. It's sort-of guitar-and-keyboard-oriented boppy stuff, but if feels musically hollow, as though it's a rough draft that's going to be fleshed out later. It definitely showed promise on the band's part, that they have a definite grasp of harmonising and adding a certain texture to their music, but it didn't really penetrate the musical aether to a great extent (perhaps that's just because club and dance music isn't heard much outside the clubs and dances). Dan Whitford has said that the album "got half way there" to the sound that they wanted. He didn't say what the other half was, but I feel like it was a melodic theme to each of the songs; something recognisable and salient to set each song apart from the others. Without that theme, each song blends into the background noise of the album as a whole. Saturdays, Future and Going Nowhere were released as singles.
In Ghost Colours
- Feel The Love
The opening track shoves you straight in; with an acoustic guitar-based tune and the kind of musical mixture that just makes you feel good and want to move.
- Out There On The Ice
Much more electronic-oriented than the previous track, this one opens slowly with a distant drum beat and a light keyboard rhythm. Constantly building up to a climax around 3/4 through, which uses crowd noises to give a live performance feeling.
- Lights & Music
It begins with an elusive sample that seems to be of a woman's voice, but is probably synthesised entirely (as with many such elements, it begins towards the end of the last song). The melody and theme is centred around the bass guitar, but this gives way to the keyboard-and-voice chorus and an echo-ey guitar riff in the bridge.
- We Fight For Diamonds
This is a short (1:02) piece that binds the surrounding tracks, and somehow it creates an environment without sounding like anything much at all.
- Unforgettable Season
This track features less from the keyboard and synth, being much more along the lines of your standard guitar-bass-drums band arrangement. Everything echoes and creates a very warm sound; it makes you want to move, but not so much to dance.
- Midnight Runner
The first real break in the sound so far: all of the previous tracks are held together at their ends. Without a real melody or extended structure, this feels more like a lengthy lead-up to the next song.
- So Haunted
It begins with a strained guitar riff in the foreground, something like what you'd find in a Placebo song. Suddenly it changes and begins to alternate between this extended guitar wail and the chorus, which fits more with the overall feel of the album. Then the two diametrically opposed themes are put together, and they seem to fit. Suddenly there's another switch, to a clean synth rhythm and a tiny glockenspiel melody above it.
- Voices In Quartz
Another extended lead-up; without much substance, essentially setting the scene.
- Hearts On Fire
A deep bass line dominates to begin with, and then various voice samples (mostly of shouting and whooping) are put together with a keyboard in the bridge, before the chorus comes in with a spacey vibe that creates a feeling of slow-motion. The chorus then extends into the same bass-oriented sound of the opening, and the cycle continues. In the second chorus, a saxophone can be heard in the distance, slowly getting closer from infinity, then disappearing again.
- Far Away
Another break in the sound, so we start from silence all over again. A deep synth rhythm dominates throughout the first verse, then being added to by a few voice samples in the chorus (lots of oooh-ing and aaah-ing). Some more voice samples create a clean intermediate between each chorus and the next verse. Suddenly the synth is alone, and brings out a rough-sounding 4-5-1 progression before being joined by the bassline and a whole lot of spacey laser sounds (pow, zap, pa-pa-choo!). This then becomes another verse, followed by another chorus, and it all transitions smoothly into the next song. This is really the best dance track on the album, a dance track among dance tracks. You shall move your feet, human!
- Silver Thoughts
More glue-like sound, this time only 29 seconds. Of all the tracks, this one reminds me most of their first album, which shows how much they've progressed.
- Strangers In The Wind
This song has much less definition than previous ones, in that its components aren't as separate from each other, as individually distinguishable. It also has next to no lyrics, so it's the most like club music of the songs.
One last break in the album. This short lead-up (1:09) starts with an echo-ey keyboard that gets clearer and clearer, before being joined by the drums and bass guitar, so it's really an intro to the next track.
- Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
My favourite track, this one has a repetitive arpeggio-esque keyboard riff, a regular bassline and a guitar strumming on top; none of the three instruments are overpowering, so they are all complimentary and allow for the lyrics to be the main feature so far. It's a fairly standard verse-chorus-verse-break-chorus setup, but it's light-hearted and, as with the first track, just makes you feel good.
- Eternity One Night Only
The connection between this track and the previous is small, but it's there. This track, while a standard length (3:06) doesn't have much to it, and features a lot of oooooohhh-ing. It's a small guitar progression, a little voice sample and then it's over. It seems like their way of letting you down gently.
This album is much more like pop than its predecessor, since its lyrics can much more be described in terms of verses, bridges and choruses (that is not to say that it is generic pop garbage, it most definitely is not). Every song also has at least one very prominent musical theme at its core, so they are all very distinct from one another, despite almost every track leading seamlessly onto the next. This album really feels much more like they enjoyed making it: they just play around with sounds from time to time, and use a lot of small instrumental pieces between songs (We Fight For Diamonds, Voices In Quartz, Silver Thoughts, Visions). While it keeps to the repetitive nature of the dance genre, the instruments seem to come to the forefront one after another, so a very rich tapestry of harmonies is formed. I have to say that this is, so far, the best album I've ever bought; every single track is absolute gold. This album always gives me the feeling of being in a large, dark room, surrounded by a multicoloured Aurora Australis, or something similar. So Haunted, Lights & Music and Hearts on Fire became singles, although Hearts On Fire was a re-recording of a previous EP.
Who knows what's next?