Reportedly formed in a carpark while waiting to see if some lost car keys could be found, Nations By The River combines some of the best independent Australian talent and some of our personal favourite artists, including Luke Steele of Sleepy Jackson and Empire Of The Sun and who now tops the mentions in this blog for any Australian artist, the Kahn brothers from Gelbison and Ohad Rein from Old Man River. Various guests also make appearances, including another personal favourite, Sarah Blasko.
We saw Nations when they supported Gomez a few years ago. They started their set as wandering minstrels, walking out onto the floor of the Metro Theatre, singing and playing to the stunned punters. The ensuing set won both Mine and YourZ (truly) over very quickly. That we got to see them with our favourite English lads only made the gig all the more memorable.
Holes In The Valley was recorded very quickly, over three days, during breaks from busy touring schedules. But this only adds to the charm and, if anything, the lack of production pretence suits this set of stripped back songs, instead giving it something more akin to a folk record of bygone years. But this is not pastiche. This is a celebration of great song writing and is a truly joyous record to hear.
While the careers of the various players have taken twists and turns, Holes In The Valley will always remain a testament to a friendship forged in a common love of pop music. I just hope the friendship continues in the future.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
So this band came into our collection, as YourZ says, because we saw them supporting Gomez a few years ago. This is a major departure for me and I do have to thank my husband for it. You see, in my previous band-watching career, I've rarely arrived to see the support act, usually only making the effort if I knew and liked them.
But YourZ has made me realise, if I like the headline band enough to see them, chances are I'll enjoy the band they've chosen to support them. And if they're less than impressive, well, the bar's not far away!
I guess this is the last of Luke Steele - given that we've done The Sleepy Jackson and Empire of the Sun... is that it? Makes me a little sad. I wonder what he'll do next. But anyhow, this glorious sound is one I can heartily recommend to anyone who likes their harmonies close, their melodies sweet and uplifting, and a sound that approaches the symphonic.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nations_by_the_River