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Moo, You Bloody Choir

Augie March

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Album Review

Despite being a reasonably solid effort, Augie March's third full-length, Moo, You Bloody Choir, likely won't do anything that the much-superior Strange Bird didn't do to expose the group to a larger fan base four years prior. This isn't an entirely surprising outcome, however; though many promising elements shine through the Australian outfit's mid-tempo dream pop — leader Glenn Richards' excellent craftsmanship, striking lyrics and pretty, well-molded vocal work and harmonization, to name a few — ultimately the group gets bogged down by the very things that initially make them so pleasant. Their too-smooth, incredibly homogenous sonic textures relegate half the album to almost nondescript blather, which largely lacks a distinctive spark. The soft and downy instrumentation is the most significant culprit; the wash of piano and strummed, reverb-drenched electric guitar quickly wears thin, and is broken only on the big-band novelty opening of "The Honey Month" and on a handful of other songs. That said, the group still manages to reach a fair number of peaks, which provide reason enough to not ignore the album entirely. The strong first three tracks are starkly pretty, lilting songs in the passionate vein of Jeff Buckley's more subdued, romantic work, utilizing some subtle dissonances and a very satisfying harmonic balance, particularly on the circular flow of the opener, "One Crowded Hour." It's also hard to argue with such evocative imagery as "But for one crowded hour, you were the only one in the room/ I sailed around all those bumps in the night to your beacon in the gloom." Unfortunately, by the time "Stranger Strange" rolls around, the plaintive mood settles into repetition and listeners' attention spans are likely to wander for several tracks. Things certainly pick up with the much-needed kick of the rocker "Just Passing Through," which leaves in its wake several of the album's more alluring tracks as the mood settles back into subdued melancholia. Richards evokes another of indie rock's more romantic figures — Ryan Adams — on "Bottle Boy," where his voice achieves an expressive interplay with the guitar and background harmonization that is somehow lacking in much that precedes or follows. Moo, You Bloody Choir picks up once again for the last time on the lengthy simmer of "Clockwork," where Richards sings "Oh singer, I don't believe your song, or your lying lines." While that's far from the case with the singer's own fine lyrical poeticism, it's hard not to take most everything else about this album as anything more than for granted.

Customer Reviews

excellent

Augie March, a five member band from Melbourne, Australia, take their name from Saul Bellow's novel "The Adventures of Augie March". Richards' vocals and songwriting are simply beautiful, passionate and create great imagery with a literary slant. His lyrical style is clever, descriptive, and poetic. Lyrical wordplay aside, Augie March songs are intense, diverse, beautiful, and wonderfully composed. Moo, You Bloody Choir (2007/Jive, 2006/Sony/BMG) is less quirky and layered than their previous albums, Strange Bird (2004/SpinART, 2002/BMG Aus) and Sunset Studies (2000/BMG Aus). It also features more backing vocals and sounds somewhat more traditional. Still, it contains the other-worldy and subtle, unique quality that define Augie March songs. This is an immensely enjoyable album that will not bore you. I recommend everything, but here is a run through: Just Passing Through (7) is very high energy with pretty backing vocals. The Cold Acre (3) is a nice song with fantastic keyboards and vocals. One Crowded Hour (1) builds up to lovely charged song. Thin Captian Crackers (8) is a very catchy playful track. The Baron of Sentiment (11) is also a fun pop track. Vernoona (14) has a beautiful, sparkling melody. Clockwork (13) is a dark, driven song heavily layered with guitars. Stranger strange (4) a beautiful steady, and somewhat strange track with britpop guitars and soaring melodies. Mother Greer (5) is country-ish with nice keyboards. Bottle Baby (9) is in the spirit of Dylan.

Sound Reinforcement

More lyrical genius from the prose of Glen Richards. The album starts strong with "One Croded Hour" but lags in the middle. It picks up again With "Just Passing Through". A modest rocker that has the ability to match exactly whatever mood you're in. The affect is rounded out with "There Is No Such Place" and "Clockwork". Maybe too much refinement went into this record but the highs outnumber the lows and the lows aren't that bad either.

Augie March can do no wrong

Augie March are an Aussie enigma.This is really beautiful stuff. Music so unique, haunting, poetic, and achingly beautiful that I just want people to embrace it like I have. The iTunes review of 'Moo' shocked me a bit. Then again, a quick couple of listens doesn't do the band justice. These guys will grow on you and reasons can be found to love every song, not just the standouts. 'One Crowded Hour' is the big single, a great rolling song with wonderful lyrics. Personal favourites are the more rocking 'Just Passing Through'; the acoustic Dylan-esque 'Bottle Baby'; the fun 'Thin Captain Crackers'; and the epic 'Clockwork' that just builds and builds. Americans also don't know how lucky they are to have a revamped version of ballad 'There Is No Such Place' included (from debut album 'Sunset Studies'). No words can describe that song- brings a tear to my eye. Don't make the mistake of ignoring Augie March's other releases. Debut 'Sunset Studies' remains on my 'Top 5 CD's to take to a deserted island' list. Please... PLEASE... check out Augie March. Bands like this are few and far between.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Augie March formed in 1996 in Melbourne, Australia, where guitarist/singer/songwriter Glenn Richards, guitarist Adam Donovan, and drummer David E. Williams were attending college. The three grew up together in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia, but it wasn't until they reunited as friends during their college days that Richards, an English major, began writing songs and invited the other two to accompany him. Both Donovan and Williams were studying music and the two sought out bassist Edmond Ammendola,...
Full Bio
Moo, You Bloody Choir, Augie March
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