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Album Review: Mosman Alder, ‘Humdrum Star’

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on September 11, 2014

Brisbane 6-piece Mosman Alder have just released their debut LP, Humdrum Star, and it’s jam-packed full of tales inspired by global travel (and post-travel blues,) online pen pals and life in general. Splattered with melancholy lyricism disguised by uplifting melodies and instrumentation, this is an album with a lot going on under the surface.

After the 2012 release of their debut EP, Burn Bright, the guys have toured the country, both in support and headlining slots. Having already received praise from the likes Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate) who claimed that they’re “one of the best bands I’ve heard come out of Australia in a really long time,” it’s clear that they’re a band to watch.

Golden Archers unwraps the album with haunting riffs, broody vocals and melting violin that we have all come to know and love as Mosman Alder.  An eerie and mysterious introduction to the album, it leaves the listener curious as to what’s next to come.

Within the opening bar, it’s no shocker that Germland (Of Julien Charbonneau) is the album’s first single. A immediate standout, this upbeat indie-pop-rock number boasts the rich tonality of Valdis Valodze’s baritone paired with sweet harmonies, lashings of piano and charming violin- all glued together with simple acoustic strums. Through everything that’s going on in this track, I can’t help but focus on the spectacular energy on the drums by Damian Wood as the song progresses.

Jackson Muir’s refreshing falsetto opens Home Again. Robust drums, simple keys and raw harmonies invigorate the listener’s ears, simultaneously injecting a super catchy choral hook with “Don’t let me drown, don’t let me drown.” Shine delivers a more delicate vibe with softer vocals, romantic keys and soaring violin. This track is raw and stripped back – and it allows the talent of each band member to really shine through the beautiful piece. Later on, brief yet punchy electric jabs heighten suspense, in the build-up to the song’s climax. It’s Not Love begins with a sluggish, elusive vibe, but progresses into the hardest rock track of the album, with buoyant drums, hard-hitting vocals and distorted electric guitar.

Listening to this album is just like a rigged game of pass-the-parcel; with each layer unwrapped, we are delighted with individual and contrasting, yet somehow cohesive tracks, ultimately creating a fine first LP. Under every layer, there is a prize! It’s wonderful to hear six individuals harmoniously intertwine up their own musical influences to create a truly career-defining album such as this.


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