The Last Of The Tourists
Mick Thomas has been at the forefront of Australian songwriting for nearly three decades now – firstly for seminal folk-rockers Weddings, Parties, Anything and then his more genteel The Sure Thing – but The Last Of The Tourists is his first solo album proper, and it continues the quality of his long-term output with complete panache.
Thomas decamped to Portland to record the album at the behest of producer Darren Hanlon and took with him only perennial sidekick Mark “Squeezebox Wally” Wallace, picking up other contributors on the fly. Despite the locale it’s a typically Australian record from Thomas, his insight still brilliantly sharp and intact, dissecting the minutiae of Australian life and what makes us tick with the dexterity of a surgeon. The album never mires, but there’s a definite theme of passing time and cyclical change throughout (The Clamorous Warbler, Bottle Bin, Star-O and The Last Of The Tourists) while All The Roads and Gallipoli Rosemary are modern Aussie classics. Musically it’s relatively standard Thomas fare – classy, accomplished and understated, but still slightly rough around the edges – although the title track sounds like it’s straight from the Jonathan Richman songbook.
Thomas might be reflecting here on getting older, but aging suits both the timbre of his voice and the timeless nature of his distinctly Aussie narratives. One of our best ever musos at the top of his game, may there be many more footy seasons to come.
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