I’m hanging out to see The Fauves in Perth in a week and a bit. It’s been way too long between since I last blagged drinks off this band. I am not sure if I’m quite able to express my deep and enduring love for this group of musical misfits who, aside from the now time-lapsed friendship we shared way back, have been and so remain a substantial part of my inner life.
Remarkably, The Fauves continue to contribute songs on a greater range of home truths than any other Australian act, of which a compiled titles list would surely outstretch the index of even the most comprehensive [post]modern Australian sociologue. What beat me up, upon later digestion of the thing, was why my mind seemed so surprised at how instantaneously I felt heard the first time I listened to the new record. I don’t mind admitting it struck the brown note inside incredulous ears, ringing a resounding “fuck me! this is so… good!”
How? I mused like a perplexed latter day Julius Sumner Milier, is it so? Given today’s cut price cut-throat recording industry, that an album so full to the brim and which, like a drunk uncle at a family beach barbie, swims outside the flags in careless confidence. Languid layers of lyrical cleverness are sprawled across four gorgeous sides of vinyl. HOW? the by now increasingly irritating quizzical voice had started shouting IS A RECORD THIS MASSIVE, THIS INCISIVE, THIS ALL-ENCOMPASSING, and here the voice quietened in an awestruck realisation, how is a record so utterly, utterly unable to recoup its cost even possible to produce today?
Of course it’s so good. Of course so many of the songs on The Fauves’ latest album speak to me [to us] in an uncanny, intangible way. Of course it’s all in a voice thick with the timid braggadocio that seems to reflect in equal relevance the private thoughts of who I am now, all these years later, as did those songs I’d listened to so assiduously back then. Of course this band can do all they do in a way only they do. Of course there is zero chance this record will ever recoup, yet here it is in your faithless hands you dropkick. Of course. It’s The Fauves.
The songs still sound as intriguing, as joyful, as insightful as anything the band released in the succeeding three decades. Yeah, that’s right, thirty years (mostly) hard grind for a band from the wrong side of the bay. Those few sweet weeks, more or less, of pop popularity in the wake of ‘Dogs Are The Best People’, rather the dearth thereafter of such popular acclaim (and anything like regular pay cheques) would almost certainly have sounded the death knell for any other band.
Not The Fauves, oh no. What couldn’t kill the band didn’t necessarily make them stronger, but it did make them somehow even more hauntingly poignant. Frankly, it’s inconceivable any additional travails would’ve made the band better communicate the bitter disillusionment that held us all in thrall. Well, it did me, at least.
For all that, and for so very much more, I say… nay, I shout in drunken bold caps like I surely will as I step out of the venue in a week and a bit THANK FUCK FOR THE FAUVES