Satellite Nights - Modern Giant
Russell Degnan

Modern Giant are one of the more interesting bands I've heard in a while. On some superficial level, and in the absence of a better comparsion, they are not dissimilar to The Magic Numbers or maybe the Dearhunters, if anyone but me ever listened to the Dearhunters. They are a band that could only come from Australia, in this case Sydney, combining catchy folk-pop with some hilarious spoken word lyrics from bassist Adam Gibson.

The spoken word is what makes them different, and what makes the album worth seeking out. Rambling, amusing, observations bands, relationships, and life in Sydney combine, generally, with a nice beat to talk to. It is hard to give a good impression of them, but perhaps a couple of samples will suffice. This verse from The Band's Broken Up is amusing:

But sometimes I got it right,
My mates would ring up and say, "ya bastard, ya lucky fuck".
"You're a bastard ya lucky fuck".
And I wanted to say "yeah right",
'Cause I felt that clear.
Because when the girls hadn't rung back by the following Wednesday,
I wanted to call my mates back and say
"You've got no idea"

Or these brilliant lyrics from the closing track Angie Hart:

Angie Hart, made me want to move to Melbourne.
Yeah, and fall in love and drink coffee,
And sit in cafes and drink beer,
And have a genuine use for the many beanies I've collected over the years.

There'd be a bag of hot chips in there somewhere.
Maybe an ice-cream,
But that might have been too cold, because it would always have been cold.
I would have gone to AFL matches,
I would have seen bands,
And I would have taken up,
Smoking.

Not that the tunes can be discounted. The singing doesn't always grab me, but the melodies are generally catchy, and occasionally superb. A few songs seem disjointed, although prior to that they were repetitive; they suprise you and it takes a while to get used to the style. This is a good album though. It takes a few listens, but I really like it.

Track Highlights
I'm Not Broken - The opening track, and the best pop-tune on it. Great layered melodies, but a little repetitive.
The Band's Broken Up - Absolutely superb song. Funny, upbeat, spoken word combined with a nice beat and tune that rolls along through the story.
Heartbeat - A long, complex, funny, combination of overlapped singing and speech that works on many levels.
Count 'Em Up - A slow, lilting but slightly dull song; until the third minute when it suddenly has the coolest little change. Completely out of the blue, but really good anyway.
Angie Hart - The whole premise of this song is brilliant. All spoken to an odd little guitar tune, and hardly an unfunny line.

Finer Things 20th February, 2006 23:45:43   [#] 

Comments

Funny
Can I borrow this? These lyrics sound like my sort of thing!
BridgeGirl  21st February, 2006 08:55:26  

Um...
Of course. Except I couldn't find the CD last night, which makes me suspect you already have borrowed it. Either that or I've misfiled it and it will forever lie in the wrong stack.
Russ  21st February, 2006 09:46:53  

armaniac
Angie Hart made ME want to live in Melbourne. I did. Unfortunately I had to go back to Darwin after a year and finish my wretched degree.

Belated link added in reciprocation for your good self, see you at next grogblog.
armagn@gmail.com  22nd February, 2006 17:13:42  

Satellite Nights - Modern Giant
thanks Armaniac, I think. (do I want your readers? some of them are a bit nutty).

Will definitely try and make the next grogblog. Not least because, although you may have been heavily into your cups at the time, I believe you volunteered to organise it.
Russ  22nd February, 2006 20:14:50  

Patriotism
This CD has the coolest Aussie songs on it. I adore "The Band's Broken Up" and "Heartbeat" and "Angie Hart" - however the rest of the songs I am not that fond of.

The 3 afore mentioned songs are the perfect sort of songs for a road trip mix-tape. I love all the references to things I know (eg. living in Randwick, a copy of 'Oscar & Lucinda'). I want to go to Lighthouse Beach (as mentioned in 'Heartbeat').

It fills me with nostalgia and patriotism. Imagine if one of these songs was our national anthem - how cool would that be. It's the sort of song I'd be proud of. However I don't think it would sound as good when a whole lot of people sing it. Adam Gibson has just the right voice for it.

As a girl who listens to the lyrics of a song - this is just my sort of thing. Very cool indeed.
BridgeGirl  16th March, 2006 08:12:14