Friday, 7 October 2016

Record Review - Amarillo

Published in the Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, October 6

Eyes Still Fixed
Gaga Diji

Rooted in Americana but possessed of an aesthetic wanderlust that sees the group cover a range of styles over the album’s nine tracks, Melbourne quartet Amarillo’s debut LP stretches out, drawing you in with Nick O’Mara and Jac Tonks’ vivid songwriting, painting pictures of love, isolation, distance.

O’Mara’s guitar playing (perhaps best known via fellow Melbournians Raised By Eagles, of which he’s a founding member), is top notch, particularly his lap steel playing, easily meshing with bass (Trent McKenzie) and percussion (Alex Rogowski). Tonks takes care of the majority of the vocals, her voice strong and assured throughout, which when combined with the deft instrumentation, stands Amarillo apart from the myriad other Americana acts coming out of Melbourne at the moment. There’s an adventurousness and a want to explore sonically that really defines this record, really adding something extra.

Eyes Still Fixed follows on from an acclaimed, eponymous EP in 2014, which along with shows around the country (supporting Mick Thomas and Charlie Parr among others) and overseas has seen this unassuming group hone their already impressive chops, the results of which are laid bare here with an easy aplomb.

Samuel J. Fell

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