Monday, 6 February 2012

Record Review - Lachlan Bryan

Lachlan Bryan
Shadow Of The Gun
Core Music / Sony

Shadow Of The Gun, debut solo record from The Wildes frontman, Lachlan Bryan, has become a much anticipated one on the local scene.  The Wildes’ debut record from a few years ago, Ballad Of A Young Married Man, received very positive reviews (including from your humble scribe) when initially released, and so to have the core songwriter responsible now releasing a solo record, it’s no wonder people are keen for a listen.

Now, it’s hard not to judge a book by its cover, but when first informed Bryan had hooked up with mainstream-ish country musician/producer Rod McCormack (Gina Jeffreys, Troy Cassar-Daley amongst others), I had immediate doubts – whilst McCormack has worked with many artists, underground and cult as well as mainstream, I feared the rawness and dirt evident in Bryan’s earlier recordings would be lost amidst an overly slick production.  My fears were confirmed first up with opener, ‘Unfortunate Rose’, a song more suited for the Country Music Channel than a smoky, Melbourne pub, where Bryan cut his teeth.

However, my fears are soon alleviated, although not entirely.  There are songs on here more than a little reminiscent of Mr. Johnny Cash (Bryan has a marvellously deep drawl when he feels the need), and there are a few that hark to the scratch we know from Bryan’s previous work.  However, then there are those other tracks – ‘I’d Rather Sing In Churches’ for example – which to me just don’t fit.  They’re too slick, they’re too “country and western”.  Then you get the delightful shimmering guitar of a track like ‘Lily Of The Fields’ and you wonder why it’s not all like that.

So a mixed bag for Bryan’s debut solo effort, strengthened for sure with appearances from both Kasey and Bill Chambers, along with Catherine Britt.  There’s a hell of a lot of potential here, but then we already knew that, which makes me think this record is only half of what it could be.  I await Bryan’s next offering with baited breath.

Samuel J. Fell

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