Richard In Your Mind
The Future Prehistoric
12 Track, LP (2007, Broken Stone)
Related: Richard In Your Mind.
It has taken quite some time to finally put pen to paper – or fingertip to keyboard, rather – in celebration of this album. Few words seem fit to describe it. I found myself deleting and rewriting this piece almost as often as I listened to the shiny disc about which I type. It’s still not sufficient to do The Future Prehistoric the credit it deserves, but then I doubt much ever could.
There is an almost contradictory duality throughout this album that is striking. It appears to constantly explore, both musically and lyrically, the opposing concepts of light and dark, reality and imagination, and it is upon this that the rest of the album is built.
At any one time, the squeaks and squawks of samples and synth tracks can be heard melding perfectly with guitars (backwards and otherwise), harmonium (also backward at points), flutes, Jew’s harps, harmonicas, and various percussive instruments. Conrad Richters’ bass grounds the fantasy within some sort of reality, whilst Richard Cartwright’s lyrics not only encourage, but positively command a recognition of the intended visual imagery. It is the mark of a true songwriter when one can actually see songs as they unfold. The Future Prehistoric is an album of deep purples and greens and blues, with the odd flash of red and yellow. One bears witness to sprawling musical and conceptual landscapes; journeys of speculation and discovery, both innocent and informed.
It’s lysergic pop with plenty to it. The multi-instrumentation allows rich layering and depth, without sounding caged into one genre. Yes, it’s psychedelic, and rightly positions Richard In Your Mind as the darlings of the new Sydney ‘scene’, but it’s more than that. From the bluesy harmonica in the ominous, almost cautionary groove of ‘Boat Is Rocking’ to the Eastern touch of droning sitars that make the glorious ‘March of Nandi’, this is an incredibly fulfilling and exciting album. I only wish I’d heard it earlier so that I may have placed it on my list of the Top Five 2007 Australian Releases, for that is where it belongs.
Find yourself forced to dance to ‘Skeleton’, relax to the gentle meander that is ‘The Valley’, and ponder an inverse reality in ‘The Green Sun’. In fact, do everything with this album as soundtrack, as I have for the last fortnight. If this is the precedent for Australian music in 2008, we are in for prosperous and thrilling year.
by A.H. Cayley