This unique and talented band got their start a few years ago and hail from the equally unique and interesting land of Australia. Currently consisting of the quartet Matt Swayne, Elizabeth Reid, Denni Meredith and Ben Macklin, they combine their talents for a unique, dark, romantic form of ballad-like story-telling folk music. Whether performing as a two-piece acoustic show or the full foursome on stage at Wave Gotik Treffen, they are able to please their audiences of all kinds, ages and genres. Currently signed to the german label Black Rain they have played alongside many great bands throughout Australia and Europe and continue to go strong.
I first became acquainted with their sound with their 2007 EP The Plagiarist which featured four excellent hit pieces that instantly became favorites for me as well as listeners of both Gothic Paradise radio shows. This was followed by the release of their full-length album Mirror on the Wall including a dozen solid tracks. A couple years later and we have their latest work which takes a turn in content and style for a truly unique and interesting journey through their world of acoustic music that will appeal to fans of gothic and folk alike.
As we continue our quest for great bands, this one lands near the top of our list as favorites and we look for more great works in both the acoustic and non-acoustic arena, staying close to the gothic roots, but welcome to any other style to accentuate their unique talented sounds. Be sure to enjoy selections on both Gothic Paradise radio shows.
The Red Coats - Review
This new album from this talented band is a true breath of fresh air in a somewhat stagnating music industry. This album is in the form of a dozen acoustic tracks that are presented in a such a way as the listener feels like they're sitting in a 19th century tavern listening to the tales death and sorrow, happiness, love and pain.
We start off with a tale of "Death at Sea" following a crew that set sail and get lost at sea with one survivor returning. This sets the mood and takes the listener from their present setting to the tavern in the ports of Amsterdam listening to the storyteller share each interesting tale presented through the unique vocals and mix of banjo, guitar, percussion, violin and so on. These tales are woven in an intricate and interesting style through tragedy and jealousy of "The Red Coats", the sadness of "Bird From the Ashes" and so on. The storytelling continues with "The Old Captain" which is presented perfectly with our tavern setting and the old captain sharing his stories. The perfect influence or relation I can draw is the classic piece "Amsterdam" by the gothic rock band The Bolshoi. I think if the reader will listen to this class track and then listen to this album in full, the relationship can easily be made and the feeling of those old dirty port streets, the smell of fish, salt and seawater in the air and sound of the noisy taverns along the street.
At this point we're presented with an instrumental intermission, aptly and simply named "Intermission". Though there are no lyrics, it still includes soft vocals and the perfectly mixed acoustic instruments for a sweet break between pieces about halfway through the album. The music picks back up with the somber piece "Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" which is a fun play on words for a sweet nostalgic piece. We continue our ballads with the ballad of "Jack Davey" and on through the memorable "Springtime in Kyoto" which is another selection dripping with emotion as it starts off moving and heavy, but slowly drifts off and brings us to the dreamy piece "Phantom's Theme". This leads us to the spellbinding finale to the album "Emily of the Grace". This is another ballad based on an old ghost story and presented perfectly by this band as only they could do. With this we close the album and once again we're left completely enraptured by their captivating styles and longing for more, at least another hour of music would be great. With that we encourage the reader to pick this album up for anyone with likes leaning towards acoustic gothic or folk music, this is a real treat.
The Plagiarist - Review
This was my first taste of this band and since it's release in 2007, I haven't been able to put it down. It still remains a classic after two years. It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of EP's or CD singles with their waste of space by presenting one decent track and several remixes or filler, except for the occasional rare b-side that should have been the main single or hit on the previous or subsequent album. This EP is a collector's item, it has four solid pieces, no remixes and no filler. It does contain a couple of tracks available on the subsequent album, but is well worth having on it's own.
"Truth or Dare?" kicks off the cd and was an instanct classic and favorite for me. It features a mix of guitars, percussion, electronics and vocal feel much like classic hits from The Cure and moves along perfectly with an astonishing dose of raw emotion and power with the mix of male and female vocals that hold the listener captivated for the duration of the piece. In much the same way "Nihilist" also keeps the rhythm moving with some grinding guitars and a solid beat that most classic goth fans love.
The other two pieces have a little more of a laid-back approach. The title track introduces us to their acoustic side which includes guitar, banjo and soft vocals, once again rotating between Matt and Elizabeth's smooth textures. And finally, to close this short EP we have "Escher" which includes a smattering of electronics to lend some depth to the music, but remains fairly somber in it's moods and content. This feature Elizabeth taking the lead on the vocals and lend a soft touch with the otherwise grinding guitars and mid-tempo beat. This wraps up the disc in style and leaves the listener breathless and wanting more. Luckily, by now (2009) we have two other full-length albums to satisfy our desire.
Label: Black Rain