Dave Graney And The MistLY
You’ve Been In My Mind
12 Track, LP (2012, Independent)
Related: Clare Moore, Dave Graney.
You’ve Been in My Mind is the first collection of new songs in three years from Dave Graney, his partner in life and sound Clare Moore, and their recently re-named band, The MistLY (formerly the Lurid Yellow Mist). Not that they’ve been idle though, as that span has seen a whole lot of gigs, the release of Graney’s first book - acclaimed memoir 1001 Australian Nights - as well as a compilation of re-recordings of classic Graney compositions, Rock ‘N’ Roll is Where I Hide.
The lyrical puns still abound but otherwise there’s less novelty on show here than in the past: the Lounge-Lizard-King-of-Pop-Dave-Graney who won ARIAs and charmed the masses in the 1990s, with a theatrical persona like some louche amalgam of Don Lane, Terry Southern and ‘Coney Island Baby’-era Lou Reed, is largely absent. Graney now more comfortably resembles a road-seasoned jazzman, exuding the philosophical gravitas and dark humour of hard-won wisdom. Jazz sensibilities have influenced this new music too, particularly the “blazing left-handed Rickenbacker” lines of lead guitarist Stuart Perera, with structures and chords that shift and twine but not at the expense of melody or focus. According to 1001 Australian Nights, Graney and Moore first met Perera when he was a young student “into jazz players, theory, octaving and Guns N’ Roses”, and the resonances of such remain apparent, fused with the band’s ongoing interests in ’70s West Coast rock and art pop experimentation.
Self-recorded and mixed, with help from engineer Andrew “Idge” Hehir, the performances are mostly live, not overdubbed, reassuringly-immediate and seemingly in thrall to ’70s production values, as if Tony Visconti was at the desk in their Brunswick studio. The piercing sustain of the guitars is thin and trebly, while the choruses of ‘I’m Not the Guy I Try To Be’, ‘Field Record Me’ and ‘Cop This Sweetly’ - great titles, as usual - flow in a wash of harmonies that could have come from Bowie and Osterburg’s own throats in Hansa Studios in 1976; the latter track even ending with desperate yelps like The Idiot’s ‘Funtime’.
While the first half is upbeat and mid-paced, the second drops to a slower, dreamier cadence. Songs like ‘Playing Chicken’, ‘I’m Not the Guy I Try to Be’ and ‘Midnight Cats’ are made for the early hours. The spoken-word ‘Mt Gambier Nights’ is autobiography melded with dry observation, quoting William Blake to an evocative backdrop of staccato guitar reverb.
This is a seductive and comfortably re-playable collection of dependable material, boding well for an extensive national tour this month.
by Aaron Curran