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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third album from Victorian quintet casts a cold eye on life, on death
Forgive the Yeats quotation - but Augie March have always been a literary lot. Often called a Melbourne band, their music is actually country-born - not in the Grand Ole Opry sense, but profoundly Australian, rooted in rural Victoria.

Frontman and songwriter Glenn Richards loves his pommy poetry all right, but his imagery stems from the soil, just like Hughes...
Published on 23 Oct 2007 by C. O'Brien

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not good
I brought this disk from Amazon in November and after playing it aroudn 10 times the tracks started to bounce. I've been really dissapointed with this purchuse because I love teh album but can't listen to it now. Hope others have more luck than me with their purchsing off amazon
Published on 29 Jan 2009 by Ms. R. A. Bates


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third album from Victorian quintet casts a cold eye on life, on death, 23 Oct 2007
By 
C. O'Brien (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moo You Bloody Choir (Audio CD)
Forgive the Yeats quotation - but Augie March have always been a literary lot. Often called a Melbourne band, their music is actually country-born - not in the Grand Ole Opry sense, but profoundly Australian, rooted in rural Victoria.

Frontman and songwriter Glenn Richards loves his pommy poetry all right, but his imagery stems from the soil, just like Hughes or Heaney. Add a broad sense of history, snatches of myth and fairytale, chiming rhyme and clever wordplay all mingled with a kind of throwaway Aussie cheek, and you've got the beginnings of what this band are all about.

After two distinctive albums which made a stir down under but barely broke the surface in Europe or America, the eccentrically titled Moo, You Bloody Choir moves away from the band's comfort zone of vineyards, lakes and rivers and into altogether darker territory. Partly recorded in San Francisco, this album reflects thirst and threat, travel and betrayal. Where once the band's songs echoed with humour, history and cautious optimism, now there's an acrid sense of failure adding bitterness to the mix of melody and memory.

The Dylanesque Bottle Baby tells the stark story of a drinker, a "wet shadow" who destroys what he loves. In the nightmarish touring band's travelogue Just Passing Through, "your roving poet's just a bank balance troubadour"; in Clockwork, he's caught inside the mechanised wage-slavery that typifies modern urban life.

An earlier Augie live favourite was called The Good Gardener. On this album Richards investigates not fruitfulness but sterility, adopting multiple voices to explore everything from addiction to genocide. In Mt Wellington Reverie he's a member of a convict gang, "a clearin' and fellin' and killin' " - one of society's dispossessed and disposable, set in turn to despoil aboriginal Tasmania. In a typically elegant piece of wordplay, it becomes not Van Diemen's Land, but "some demon's land". In Mother Greer - the name of a variety of rhododendron - he paints a picture of a world that can't renew itself, a people "who after making love hear nothing". And in The Cold Acre, an old man becomes a barren field ("I don't grow any good any more though I've seeded my soul").

Musically, the band have grown less folksy, more adventurous; there are touches of Americana in the lush whisperings of The Honey Month and late Radiohead in the haunted Clockwork. Just Passing Through recalls the righteous anger of The Clash and The Baron of Sentiment the barroom cheer of The Faces.

Despite all this allusion, though, the overall sound is more cohesive, the playing more authoritative. Though bleak, this album contains the band's most accessible music yet. Perhaps it might be the one to break them big beyond the confines of their native land.

as published at Subba-Cultcha
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give them a listen, mate, 22 Aug 2007
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
There is an inevitability about some things: something good had to come out of Melbourne eventually, and Augie March had to achieve due recognition in the wider world one day. I can understand why the former took so long but not the latter.

This new album, which I am reviewing following its August, 2007 release in the US, will get them more recognition, but their fans will be disappointed that it was not their early sound which got them notice. Their later lyrics have become steadily more opaque and their music steadily more intense -- changes which may prove more commercial but may also alienate some admirers.

They continually raise the stakes by projecting themselves as High Art. They describe their songwriter and lead singer Glenn Richards as 'unquestionably one of the greatest songwriters of our time'. Comparisons with Bob Dylan are inevitable (and are eagerly sought by the band). They clearly take themselves very seriously indeed. All their releases have limited collectors' editions. Of course, seriousness of intent does not guarantee a quality result. But full marks for trying, I say.

Richards' lyrics tend to the abstract and surreal, with an occasional lapse into triteness (even rhyming `moon' with `spoon') and an overdependence on references to the months and seasons. And he has clearly taken to heart Lewis Carroll's advice to poets to 'never state the matter plainly but put it in a hint, and try to look at all things with a kind of mental squint'. But he is maturing as a lyricist and I think he will go on to better things, with less mental squinting and less reliance on the moon in June.

There are 13 tracks on this CD:

One Crowded Hour Their most famous song to date. This track at least is a keeper.

Victoria's Secrets Slightly monotonous, on-the-beat rendition of a pleasant enough song.

The Cold Acre A routine, anthemic effort, which rocks gently along with an appropriately Country hint to it in places.

Stranger Strange A percussion-heavy, musically-ambitious ballad with some interesting instrumental coloring and some of Richards's finest lyrics.

Mother Greer A track that rocks a little too hard and fast for the dreamy, thoughtful lyrics.

The Honey Month A surprising, twenties-style, lazy-jazz excursion which will puzzle or please you, according to taste. The album title is in these lyrics.

Just Passing Through Slightly punk-rock, this one. Like some other tracks, it's too much on-the-beat, with drowned lyrics. You can sense the band's determination to stretch limits and their constant quest for novelty. The paradox here is that it actually ends up sounding fairly conventional.

Thin Captain Crackers Some extremely enjoyable strings here, to accompany interesting lyrics, although the sound gets a little thick and muddled toward the end.

Bottle Baby A distinctly Folksy, Dylanesque sound, with some very enjoyable strings in the mix. The lyrics however, are not quite strong enough to fully sustain it. My second favorite track after One Crowded Hour.

The Baron Of Sentiment Further hints of Country Rock here, progressing to almost a big-band sound. The tune and lyrics are average.

There is no such place A sparse, acoustic venture, which features a full string section of violins, violas and cello. The result is rather beautiful.

Clockwork A dreamy, gentle song with a psychedelic tinge. It is somewhat monotonous, but has some very interesting musical passages.

Vernoona A short, unremarkable, gentle Rock song with haiku-type lyrics. A 'warm-down' end to the album.

Augie March attract extreme opinions. Some see them as they see themselves, as High Art. Others find them to be merely pompous and pretentious. I find them unfailingly fascinating. You really should give them a listen.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not good, 29 Jan 2009
This review is from: Moo You Bloody Choir (Audio CD)
I brought this disk from Amazon in November and after playing it aroudn 10 times the tracks started to bounce. I've been really dissapointed with this purchuse because I love teh album but can't listen to it now. Hope others have more luck than me with their purchsing off amazon
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
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