What Was Left - Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set
Russell Degnan

What was Left begins with silence. Not a pretentious John Cage silence, but a slow recording of someone walking up to a door, rattling keys and then opening it to a strumming guitar. It is terribly appropriate, because the mood of this album is not a studio, nor even a pub, but the back porch of a home in the inner/middle suburbs of Melbourne.

While you listen, you seem to be half-laying in a cushioned wicker chair, looking at a tree half shorn of leaves but still trying to flower, a slightly over-grown lawn, and an old-fashioned steel hills-hoist.

It begins to rain. A steady rain, not so heavy as to be unpleasant, but too heavy to go out in; the kind that dribbles over gutters full of autumn leaves in mid spring.

Inside, someone is playing drums, or either a piano or an old organ. Clare sings, while others play or sing along dreamily, on a french horn, a viola, or anything else that comes to hand.

Between songs, you discuss anything that comes to mind: books read, politics, food, familial relations, places to go and places been, and the health and well-being of mutual acquaintances.

This goes on all afternoon.

There is nothing particularly brilliant about this album, but it is pleasant, in the seamless transition from song to song, and its rich, soft sound. They will never be the world's most popular artists, but they add something to the milieu, and it is good stuff -- when the mood takes you.

Track Highlights
Lips Like Oranges - The loudest of a lot of quiet songs, full of changes.
Winding Up - A good vocal song, with just drums for company for the most part.
Divorcee by 23 - One of the singles, and a worthy one. Typical in its drift, instead of movement from part to part.
Little Self Centred Queen - A simpler song, which helps give it some pop sensibilities.

Finer Things 26th May, 2006 22:08:00   [#] 


Listen to the lyrics...
I recently bought this as well. Since Russ doesn't listen to lyrics, I should add that lyrically, Bowditch is a perceptive, and quite eloquent, observer of the milieu Russ has so aptly described.
Rob  29th May, 2006 17:10:57  

What Was Left - Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set
Claire Bowditch gives me the shits. I bought that album because I thought she looked hot - yeah, I have my shallow moments, too - but the music was awful, they kept on using instrumental gimmicks, like Javanese Gamelan or wind-chimes, to give the music a fake authenticity. The tunes themselves were as unsophisticated and boring as pop tunes, but without the energy of pop. And the lyrics were so ridiculously pretentious!
TimT  5th June, 2006 17:45:47  

What Was Left - Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set
Tim. Yes, except the lyrics bit, for reasons Rob cites (don't listen, don't care). I like to be nice though, what with google and all they might be reading -- so you need to guess what I really think (as in how often I would really want to spend laying on a porch in the rain?).
Russ  5th June, 2006 23:25:22  

What Was Left - Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set
Hey man, no one pays you to be nice! That's the beauty of this here blog thing, you don't have to kiss up to the music producers like critics in the papers do! Go wild!
TimT  13th June, 2006 18:09:01