To put it simply, Nicholas Allbrook is a man with incessant endeavours; never ceasing or never content unless tinkering away at one project or another. A multi-instrumentalist and a Perth local, he has been on the centre stage of Australia’s music scene for the past decade under a number of different insignia’s; the frontman of psychedelic rock band POND, the bassist for psych-wunderkind Tame Impala and the other half of duo Allbrook/Avery.
Since gaining a solid reputation for his musical hallmarks in his debut solo album Ganough, Wallis and Fatuna (2014), Allbrook has graced us with a second string of sonic tensions in his latest release, Pure Gardiya; a 10 track self-reflective record named after the local lingo of Allbrook’s hometown in the Kimberley’s. The unhinged psychedelic record comments on the mediation of our national identity and explores our culture through a cosmic dimension that only Allbrook can so wittily encapsulate.
Pure Gardiya leads with In The Gutter, a track that instantly envelops us in a trickling of piano melodies and Allbrook’s raw Australian accent; a dreamy and gentle preface into a seemingly manic yet magical soundscape that is to follow.
Advance is hot on its heels and was actually released in advance (hah) to Pure Gardiya’s release with the accompaniment of a glittery and garnished video of Allbrook in a kitschy like world. A lush yet damaged glam-rocker, the tune candidly comments on the state of Australian politics through a series of parodist references to the country’s national anthem. When chatting to The Guardian about the single, Allbrook commented that,
“A national anthem should do all the obvious things, such as distil national and human values. It should be a song that truly embodies a culture and people can come together around. But Australia’s traditional custodians are boldly and brutally excluded from our national anthem.”
Take a look at the video below…
Whilst questioning our society’s status quo lyrically in Advance, Allbrook warbles in blurred unclear verses about being led astray in A Fool There Was. With pelting guitar riffs and dizzying vocals, it is quite clear that Allbrook was vibing off the likes of Velvet Underground and David Bowie during its creation.
Pyramids and Cranes is a tame and mellow track with a dazzling amalgamation of strings that showcases the true exquisiteness of Allbrook’s voice despite the lyrics melancholy nature.
By Blow Up Saxophone, Allbrook’s idiosyncratic quirkiness is back. With coarse and suffocating screeches and an ensemble of rocky imbalanced strings we are warped onto a distressing journey of self-destruction.
On Mauerbauertraurigkeit – a German term used to define the inexplicable urge to push people away (yes I had to Google it), Allbrook splashes us with some Pond-y vibes amidst splatters of spirited guitar riffs and buoyant chorus howls.
Ending the buzzing 45-minute soundscape is Deer – a melodic lullaby where Allbrook’s vocals are repossessed with spoken French samples and swollen strings. Ringing with quiet cymbal rhythms the album closes strongly, this ambient track prompting one to fade into a dreamy slumber of Allbrook’s weird and whimsical wonderland.
In Pure Gardiya, Nicholas Allbrook takes music into a third dimension. After one listen it is clear that even though unpolished, its rawness and fearlessness gives us an honest glimpse into the mind of one of Australia’s most intriguing performers. It is a record that is bare-boned, original and so fascinatedly creative, just like the maker himself.
Purchase Pure Gardiya on iTunes now and catch Nicholas on his UK tour on
June 7 @ Brudnenell Social Club – Leeds
June 8 @ Deaf Institute – Manchester
June 9 @ The Courtyard Theatre – London
June 10 @ The Louisiana – Bristol
June 11 @ Field Day Festival – London
01 In the Gutter
03 A Fool There Was
04 Pyramids and Cranes
05 Blow Up Saxophone
07 Billy Leary
08 Karrakatta Cemetery