Edge of a Dream - The Jangle band (Off The Hip)
If you worship at the altar of Big Star, the Beatles and The Byrds you’ll go nuts for this. The dream cited in the title is all about chiming open chords, (gently) duelling Rickenbackers and tuneful choruses that stick.
The Jangle Band bills itself as “Australia's second-best Rainyard/Header/Mars Bastards tribute act” because they’re three of the powerpop bands its members have played in. Throw in The Palisades and Jack and the Beanstalk as well. The membership has form.
The Jangle Band came together as a one-off combo to play the In The Pines festival in WA in 2015 and had fun so they stuck around. Of course it wasn’t ever going to be simple. Three-fifths of the line-up lives in Perth and the other two guys come from Melbourne. Last time I looked those places are 2772km apart.
Joe Algeri is one of the guitarists and (I’m guessing) a driving force behind it. He also has a habit of striking up long distance musical partnerships (see: The Britannics whose members live in Australia, the USA and Sweden.) Joe knows the drill.
Digital technology has bridged the geographical gap and enabled demo’s to be exchanged and ideas to be fleshed-out - long before the parties involved actually re-convened in a studio. Amazingly, the album took four months from concept to finished article. A spot of recording in LA was even involved. You can hear the early versions of some of the songs as bonuses on the CD edition. By the way, the LP is on Spanish label Pretty Olivia Records and has sold out.
So, the band name doesn’t lie. Jangling sounds abound. Ian Freeman’s vocal is sweet yet substantial. All band members contribute harmonies. They all played guitar. The playing is superb. The songs resonate without ever being pushy. Dave Wallace (bass) and Mark Eaton are a consummate in-the-pocket rhythm section and there’s a big part of the story right there.
Songs? “282” is a strong opener and there’s plenty more in store. The title track, “Kill The Lovers” and the wistful “This Soul Is Not For Sale” (surely the most obvious tip of the hat to The Byrds) are beauties. Joel Martin adds pedal steel to the sweet (heart of the rodeo?) “Exile On Murray Street”. The reprised “282” (Joe Algeri’s demo) adds some grit and really appeals. The seminal versions of five songs might be a CD only inclusion thanks to the format's superior lenght compared to vinyl, but they underline that there’s some quality song-writing here.
Look, I’m not the biggest fan of Big Star’s style of music (I don’t live in Sydney’s Inner-Western Delta for a start, where they want to put a star in the Marrickville footpath for Chris Bell) but I can recognise top-shelf power-pop when I hear it. “Edge off a Dream” is the sort of pop CD that sits in your player (two weeks in this case) and works its way into your mind.
Get it through Melbourne's greatest record store Off The Hip or Joe Algeri's Bandcamp.