Nambucca Fables is an album steeped in beauty and sorrow, deep heartache and sweet remembrance.
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A lot has happened in the intervening years since Mark released his last album Fever Dreams. Floods, fires and a pandemic descended, and just prior to that, on a devastating personal note, the sad and tragic loss of Mark’s mother.
A highly personal labour of love, the dozen songs on the album find the songwriter exploring and processing grief and loss, memory and nostalgia, dreams and hallucinations.
There are flashbacks to childhood memories of towns and homes (Homecoming), an instrumental snapshot of his mother immersed in nature (The Absent Gardener), feeling like a ghost at her funeral (New Suit), the horror of Chernobyl and its parallels to the insidious advance of cancer (This Little Town), the incredible story of the return of a lost 1940s Tex Morton guitar (Ghost Guitar) and much more.
“Nambucca Heads was where my Mum was born and raised. Up until my mid teens my family would travel there at least once a year,” says Mark.
“As time has passed, and it’s been decades since I’ve returned, the place has taken on a mythical quality in my mind. Smells from the kitchen, fresh bread on the rustic timber dining table – that had been big enough to sit a family of 10. My grandfather’s ashtray on a stand that would spin when you pushed a button and the ash would disappear. His model train set and the room full of treasures and trinkets. The sounds and smells of chooks and the fowl mouthed cockatoo screeching in the backyard.”
Pic by Jared Harrison
In keeping with Mark’s holistic approach to his creativity – from the artwork to the videos, the songwriting and the music – the sound of the album is the perfect sonic canvas for his songs.
The first single ‘Every Waking Hour‘ saw Mark’s lifetime of exploring the possibilities of the guitar in indie rock, jazz, power pop and beyond come to the fore on the song. Heroes like Nels Cline, Neil Young and Bill Frisell are omnipresent as Mark and his band create an exquisite blend of melodic Americana and indie pop-rock that descends into a frazzled, clattering heap as the song concludes.
“After grief, there is some kind of new balance… a new you,” Mark says of the song. “Damaged but somehow improved. A deeper understanding, more empathetic. Love finds new depths. Somehow you find you way out of that mist and into a new morning.”
On second single ‘New Suit‘ the intricate interplay between the guitars of Moldre and Jamie Hutchings (Bluebottle Kiss, Infinity Broke) provides the sonic mesh that holds the song together, the nuances providing fascinating musical details that exist at the intersection between intelligent pop songs, and hallucinogenic folk and country music. The song gradually swells and transforms from doubt and weariness to a kind of emphatic mantra with the cyclical and repeating line “Your love will live for evermore”. Even the darkest clouds have silver linings, eventually.
Right across Nambucca Fables, guitars jangle and rattle, soothe and disrupt as required, the rhythm section is constantly inventive in both traditional and more experimental styles and the use of violin, female backing vocals, banjo, melodica, Wurlitzer and Hammond organ, harmonica and more add beautiful organic textures.
1. The Absent Gardener
2. Every Waking Hour
3. New Suit
4. This Little Town
6. Ghost Guitar
7. Kidnapping On A Train (Nambucca-Chernobyl 12:50pm)
8. Dream Decay
9. I Saw You Last Night
10. It Is What It Is
11. Wisteria Sleeps
12. A Tale Of Two Pities
Stories in the key of life! magical , thx for creating these works,