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Album Review

Musically, this a fascinating hybrid — there are distinct echoes of David Sylvian here, resting alongside aboriginal features, strings, Daffy Duck (sound bites from Duck! Rabbit! Duck), elegant piano-based ballads that manage to be both mournful and majestic, and one of the best songs of 2001: "Palau," with its low-key hypnotic pulse and breathy chorus of "Pass the buckets up the pyramid line" amidst a description of a native town struck by the lightning of progress. In many respects, though, the whole album is unusual — four of the ten tracks are instrumentals, ranging from the powerhouse beat of "Wobble," with Daffy Duck popping up through expertly played drums and clanging bass, to the softly classical "Maroon Rust." You really have no idea what to expect next. For the most part, it's musically subtle — no gentle introductions to a wall of sound here; you're more likely to be drawn in, absorbed by the unique blend of sounds. Lyrically, these are songs about another world — sometimes apparently about growing up in Australia, sometimes about places somewhere in the southern hemisphere. There's a strong Third World sense here, and a very visual atmosphere to it all — they draw pictures with music and words both, and there's a distinct sense of heat and dust about it all, a languid afternoon feeling painted in reds and browns. It's a truly astonishing feat to project something of that nature as well as Not Drowning, Waving project it. Many bands can manage cool, but dusty heat is something else. Like fellow Australians Hunters & Collectors, Not Drowning, Waving has managed to infuse outside elements into their work, and it's a major benefit, not just because it's a different sound — but because you can't imagine them without that exquisite blend.

Customer Reviews

A subtle classic

Bias out of the way...this is my favorite rock record of all time. It's a world music infused collection of insights into people's lives as well as a protest against cultural assimilation The quote on the album's sleeve provides some insight "Take a person away from their place and their story goes also". Musically 'Claim" follows the same world music fusion of artists like Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and David Byrne. "Claim" does have more of a folk music feel. It is quite a unique record that is hard to pigeonhole. I said it has elements of folk. Yet Caim features quite a bit of sampling and electronics. Very hard to classify. I guess the reason I keep going back to it month after month is probably due to the cinematic quality of the album. The stories contained within provide a huge cinematic like backdrop where you can almost see the horizion against the vastness of the land. I suppose that is maybe why the band's frontman, David Bridie, has gone onto a lucrative film scoring career among other things. end kdc

Simply Beautiful

There just isn't another band like Not Drowning, Waving on this planet. Wholly original.. Music and stories infused with a soul that isn't often found in a recording studio. David's soft, throaty vocals… his beautiful piano melodies, punched out by a full band that includes a massively strong (yet underlying) guitarist.. smoking hot bass… cello (hello?) and percussions that drive hard… and then… there's the quiet moments. Very unique.


Formed: 1983

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The Australian sextet known as Not Drowning, Waving has recorded seven albums since being formed in 1983 by vocalist/keyboardist David Bridie and guitarist John Phillips. By 1985, the alt-pop band with atmospherics added bassist Rowan McKinnon, drummer Russell Bradley, soundman Tim Cole, and drummer James Southall....
Full Bio
Claim, Not Drowning, Waving
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Customer Ratings

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