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Record Reviews
Strange Dreams

Good Heavens
Strange Dreams

10 Track, LP (2012, Rice Is Nice)
Related: Wolfmother, Theredsunband, Good Heavens.

When the first incarnation of Wolfmother disintegrated amid no little acrimony in 2008, it seemed that keyboard/bass player Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett had jumped ship from one of Australian rock’s biggest cash cows. However, as Andrew Stockdale and Wolfmother careered around the world playing to those millions seemingly blinkered to the fact his lumpy new band were clearly without grace or soul, it appeared that those two more discerning musicians had made the right decision. Now they are vindicated even further as – with Sarah Kelly, formerly of theredsunband – they have created a better album than any from Wolfmother.

Initially Kelly’s project, Good Heavens are an attractive blend of her cultivated, patient and confident songwriting and the other two’s advanced understanding of exactly where to place noise and distortion. There are a number of superb moments on Strange Dreams that are filtered majestically through the Velvet Underground/Lou Reed filter. Or perhaps more modern touchstones would be sublime Norwegians Serena Maneesh or the more placid moments from Black Mountain. The album’s title track is very fine indeed in this way – considerably better than the high-octane single ‘It’s Not Easy Being Mean’ – while both ‘Know Your Own Heart’ and its closing reprise have that dark and thudding quality that should make them a formidable prospect when confronted live.

Good Heavens - It's Not Easy Being Mean by Rice Is Nice

But there is plenty that elevates Strange Dreams above any notion that it’s a stoner or drone album. One is Kelly’s (mostly) deft and soft songwriting touch; another is her voice. Mazzy Star’s influence pops up at various points, with Kelly’s singing just as unobtrusively lovely as Hope Sandoval at her most ghostly. Also preventing the album from slipping entirely into psychedelic territory are the sudden welcome bursts of punk-like energy. ‘Are You Sick?’ has the fast and loose sheen of Elastica or even early Nirvana, while ‘It’s Not Easy Being Mean’ is a juddering call to consciousness after the hazy introduction to the record that is ‘Know Your Own Heart’. This is not an album that stays in one place for long, even if its influences are fairly consistently switching between thinking-man’s rock of both the ’60s and ’90s.

Interestingly, Good Heavens were formed only after Kelly came to label Rice Is Nice with a set of songs in need of a home. The label went about finding musicians who would fit her aesthetic and came up with the ex-Wolfmother pair, who were between projects with The Slew (their band with Kid Koala). So there is a lack of familiarity between Ross and Heskett and Kelly, which gives the album the added exploratory quality that comes from artists working each other out. The energy forged from this is audible and makes for an at times sultry, at times blistering, debut.

Listen to 'Strange Dreams':

by Barnaby Smith

Related Artists

Your Comments

Eple  said about 3 years ago:

love this

william1  said about 3 years ago:

So good to hear new stuff from Sarah Kelly. One of the finest song writers in the country.
This new stuff sounds pretty good first up. She has such a effortlessly beautiful dreariness in her voice which really took theredsunband beyond standard shoegazer territory. When she sings over those minor chords it's like your heart slows down man. She's just fucking cool as.

I was never at all interested in Wolfmother but these guys seem to have the right attitude. Making music for the love of it. Glad they fucked off the show pony, derivative bullshit of that former heap they were a part of. Hopefully they realise that what will make this band good cant be found in a polished-as-all-fuck snare sound or a 70's organ wank. Keep it original and it should be interesting. More importantly, Kelly really should be able to take this in any direction she wants and explore melodies, feelings, tangents, whatever.
An interesting prospect indeed.
In any case the rekkid's already been made. So let's hit repeat then....

Stepharoo  said about 2 years ago:

Very excited to announce my bumper lineup for the FORMAT FESTIVAL 2012 in Adelaide....

7:30pm Friday 5th October 2012
@ Format, 15 Peel St, Adelaide SA 5000

  • Good Heavens (SYD)
  • Matt Banham (SYD)
  • Big Richard Insect
  • Summer Flake
  • No Action
  • Xixi

Short sets. Quick change overs. Cheap entry. Late licence.

4:00pm - 7:00pm... Street closure/ street party/ zine fair/ food/ fun
7:30pm... Format venue doors open
8:00pm - 1:00am... Bands bands bands
After.... we dance

FB event details!!

riceisnice  said about 2 years ago:

Good Heavens 11.30 – 12.30 PM
Low Tide 10.30 – 11.10 PM
Sarah Marie Chadwick 9.30 – 10.10 PM
Summer Flake 8.30 – 9.10 PM

FB event details

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  • 1.   Know Your Own Heart
  • 2.   It’s Not Easy Being Mean
  • 3.   Strange Dreams
  • 4.   Are You Sick?
  • 5.   I Am Not Afraid
  • 6.   Anybody But You
  • 7.   Down On Me
  • 8.   I’ve Got This Feeling
  • 9.   You Lose
  • 10.   Know Your Own Heart (Reprise)
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