I have been trying for Some Time, Parishioners,
to praise Modern Giant.
I wrote about discovering them in Imaginary Kisses
(link is dead for the moment)
They have just (oh, with my laziness, this was some time ago…) released a new EP entitled This is Sydney
Apologies all round…
Here we go:
Life is cruel
I was struck down by illness around 12 o’clock.
I persevered until it was obvious
that I would end up a shuddering, wretching wreck
confined to the bathroom.
I drove home to The Rectory
with a plastic bag at my side
I chewed up a full handful of drugs
& retired to the futon
In my delirium
I heard, on RN,
a song by Modern Giant
Now, I was not instantly healed
or such as anything miraculous
I found Something Wonderful!
I hunted down the CD
and played it
Modern Giant’s first CD Satellite Nights
is fucking brilliant!
Modern Giant are fucking wonderful!!!
Modern Giant are
Gynia Favot – guitar/vocals
Andy Meehan – guitar/vocals
Adam Gibson – bass/spoken word
Simon Gibson – drums
Simon Holmes – producer, Hummingbirds guy, also helped a lot
Simon Gibson & Gynia Favot
were previously in Half-Miler,
(yes, I have a copy of Crunchtime…)
the wonderfully named Disneyfist
and, no doubt, in many groups previous…
If I am to do this clinically,
I shall begin with track one, side one, CD 1
then let’s just rock a bit eh?
1. I’m Not Broken – Its GYNIA! – our first introduction to MG – a pouting, foot-stamping denial of fraily frail frailty. SO, MG are a sensitive type band eh? And GYNIA! is wavering in & outta tune, sowing that seed of doubt – I’d like to cuddle her a bit. Actually, she gets most of this in tune.
2. Hell is Other People – we all like a bit of Sartre in the morning!
3. Midnight Oil, The Hummingbirds, The Clash says the guy – POETRY! What’s that doing on a CD?
This is lovely – a nostalgic trawl through his/yours/mine & everyone’s adolescence! GYNIA! sings outta tune; sounds like she’s had a big night & is a little worse for wear & tear.
somehow miraculously incredibly & absolutely unbelievably/
we disappeared into the Surry Hills night…
…suffice to saw the band we saw that night has broken up…
this fine story is entitled The Band’s Broken Up – there is a free sample here
4. If I Close My Eyes – vin ordinaire – a bit rock – there’s distortion…
5. San Sebastian – back to jangly!
a cold beer & a good view…
It’s the simple thangs, Parishioners.
is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post and shot with arrows.
As a protector from the plague, Sebastian was formerly one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Many gay Catholics think of Saint Sebastian as their patron and interceptor saint before God.
Saint Sebastian is also regarded as the Patron Saint of soldiers generally, of infantrymen particularly, of athletes generally, of archers particularly and of municipal police officers.
Winston fantasizes about tying Julia to a stake naked and shooting her “full of arrows like Saint Sebastian”)
6. Heartbeat! THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!
THIS is what started the whole thang off! Starts with waves, not heartbeats, nice guitaring! A sad story – you don’t cry the first time you hear this…
Sitting on Lighthouse beach with a six pack of VB/
I said cheers to the Pacific/
cheers to its highways & cheers to its towns
cheers to the wide Western sunset/
I said cheers to Lighthouse Beach
And GYNIA! comes in with The Real Possibility of Redemption!
(the tears don’t stream down yr cheeks the *first* time you hear this…)
Oh, & she makes you wait for it…
& here it is! REDEMPTION!!!
AND IT ALL ENDS HAPPILY EVER AFTER!
7. Keep on Movin’ more of this vin ordinaire – somewhere between jangly & a bit rock. This turns out quite well!
8. Tie One On – oh, starts out rawk! Ah, then goes all jangly – methinks this band doth have a style! PS: this guy starts jannan at 11 o’clock & thinks he’s being naughty. I was up at 9, Parishioners, & immediately hoed into the Communion Wine – it is Sunday, after all… Oh, there is some rawk – the first guitar solo of the album! one doesn’t require rawk to go jannan…
9. I Thought That You Were Somebody Else not jangly but cutey-poppy. There is a bit of church organ in there, and “doo-doo-doo”s too. That “That” is not used in the song.
10. Count ‘Em Up – no Rawhide-yness here – this is all contemplative, sad even…
Can’t help thinkan that this music would be better used with some poetry – but, no, it’s a luvverly thoughtful song. A bit Hope Sandoval even… Hey, I like this song – I hadn’t really noticed it before!
AND IT’S A PERFECT INTRODUCTION TO THIS:
11. Angie Hart
there’s a name for this feeling/they just haven’t named it yet
& this is where Adam puts a date on it all –
must’ve been ’92/I know because she had Nevermind on
This is a lullaby, a dream,
somewhere along the line/Angie Hart would’ve been involved…
smiley smiley tears of joi!
every idea passes, every thought has an end…
I would’ve got in the car & just gone…
Oh, what an amazing album! I FEEL GOO!
Straight through into the EP:
12. More poetry – its busy, jangly, hustley-bustley – This, after all, is Sydney.
the tide is so high this afternoon/you can smell it in Annandale
13. Oh, now this is fun! I first thought this was crap – the honky-tonk intro & all, but it rollicks! And J D Salinger is there too.
14. Oh, this sounds like Counting Crows‘ Sullivan Street! GYNIA! at her fraily frail fraily best! Oh, that quaver in her voice!
The way I’m feelin’ she sings, and you just *know* she’s not sure!
turn the blues into gold she wishes; she pleads…
There is some very nice guitaring here.
turn the blues into gold she says; she demands…
& a little bit of distortion later
I feel nothin ‘ she celebrates!
This is a very good song.
15. *flang* – great songs always start with a *flang*
New York is a corduroy of concrete/it’s a bitumen of tears
Sounds a bit like the start to Heartbeat. The Adam/GYNIA! combination is magic – this is a reprise (yes, ‘Tish, that’s French) of Heartbeat!
There’s a nod here: half undone on Rundle Street – c.f. the corolla broke down on South Dowling Street and I was eventually pulled up DUI on Cleveland Street
take my hands & we will fly
not quite so fraily frail frail here, GYNIA! once again brings REDEMPTION!
My first thought was that all those crappy pop songs detract from the delicious poetry
& that I should ignore all that music & concentrate on the poetry –
Perhaps there should be two bands – Modern and Giant?
This is a jangly pop album, very much in the late 80s early 90’s style – and the poetry also derives from those very times – this band is a Time Machine!
The girl with the beautiful name – GYNIA! – is fucking wonderful!
She can only just hold a note
but it is that precise fraily frail frailty
which gives her songs their delicate, precious character!
When she rushes in to help,
singing heartbeat, heartbeat
in & outta tune
in the eponymous song
(the one which embraced me during my delerium)
it reminds me of how truly fragile Life is
It’s like if she weren’t there
things might go wrong – really wrong –
but things aren’t real good right now anyhow…
* * *
Looking around, all of us reviewers are saying the same thangs!
(‘cept no-one else appreciates GYNIA! & poetry as much as I do)
Ah, you gotsta listen for yourself.
You can buy these thangs direct from Popboomerang
(who recently had some anniversary shows here in Sydney
but, curiously, neglected their best act…)
and there are free full-size downloads (playable 3 times) via the WEED system at Mazaar
You can also listen and buy, courtesy of CD Baby
What I must say, though,
is that every single story has a happy ending!
Is that enough persuasion?
In each case,
Adam starts out on a tough wicket
but comes through –
somehow he prevails!
There is, Parishioners,
* * *
A Good Song
should tell a story –
I’m thinkan Hurricane!
(also George Jackson, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, John Hardy, Bonnie et Clyde etc. – do the historical tributes of Bony M count?)
Perhaps a Good Story
should be able to be sung?
In the Olden Days
this was surely so…
* * *
SO: The Poetry –
The Band’s Broken Up (you lucky fuck!)
Angie Hart (there’s a name for this feeling…)
& on the EP
This is Sydney (the tide is so high you can smell it in Annandale)
New York ’54 (inspired largely by Springsteen, Kerouac and Tom Waits)
* * *
The Modern Giant site is here
Here’s a bio
Links to reviews
This is good
Of course they have a MySpace page
A good interview with Adam
And a great review on Oz Music Project
It may be the year 2005, but listening to this record sent me back to early 1993
The opening lyrics “We met under the spit of a mozzie zapper in a Port Macquarie fish and chip shop” is about as Australian as you can get.
Modern Giant, Parishioners,
I commend them unto you!