OH MERCY – ” When We Talk About Love “

Posted: January 22, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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After the colourful detour of Deep Heat (2012), Oh Mercy’s ARIA-winning singer Alexander Gow relocated to the USA, where things didn’t go necessarily as planned. Recorded across three cities, “When We Talk About Love” is rife with homesickness, lovesickness and nods to Gow’s heroes – from Raymond Carver, to Burt Bacharach, the Triffids to the Go-Betweens. Opener “Without You” is expansive and evocative, with sweeping string arrangements and the kind of honest vocal delivery that pours out like an open wound. “I’m always thinking of you with some other guy,” he deadpans. Songs like “I Don’t Really Want To Know” and “Sandy” pull off that great songwriter’s trick of pairing a melancholic lyric with an optimistic melody, but it all comes to a head on Lady Eucalyptus, a lush finger-picked take on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. “My cards are all dealt and done,” he sings like a man who’s burned everything to the ground just to start again.

After the swaggering glam of the Portland-recorded ‘Deep Heat’, Alex Gow holed up in the NSW coast with producer Scott Horscroft to craft a breakup record for the ages. Largely eschewing the characters he filtered his emotional point of view through on the last record, Alex (playing almost every instrument here) marries a lyrical vocabulary tied to the mature pop of the sixties and early 70s (Bacharach/David, Carole King) with a timeless sonic approach that gives his tender melodies room to breath. The vividness of ‘Lady Ecalyptus’ and ‘I Don’t Really Wanna Know’ is devastating, but the album is never a depressing or unpleasant listen, just a collection of great pop tunes.

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