Through Not Drowning Waving, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, soundtrack and self-credited albums, the slightly raspy waver in David Bridie’s voice provides a feeling of distant heat haze and space that marks some of the best Australian music. He then mixes in political and cultural empathy – an ability to speak for those dispossessed or oppressed. David Bridie can make you think. Make you feel.
Wake follows the perhaps slight misstep of the previous, Succumb, where an attempt to make things a bit brighter – perhaps for radio acceptance – just felt a little forced in parts. This is the quieter, more reflective, Bridie. The one who sits you down, pours the shiraz, and speaks of many things.
He can make it utterly intimate, expressing an awkwardness in affection as in You’re No Flower, or the distracted walk home with occasional uncomfortable silences of Chatter, his hands on the keyboard almost as tentative as the reach out to hold her hand. He then mixes electronic and ‘real’ sounds like few can, as the helicopters appear somewhat menacingly over Black Islands. Or the confusion and doubts of purpose while Stoned In Kabul.
He can even lacerate softly. Treason has strings and that plaintive piano, as he points out to sea at those desperates fleeing “on a pea green boat” while beseeching those who just watch to “…see if they’ll float”. As ever, he’s one of the few left not turning his gaze away. And then a final beautiful oddity: a distracted, almost talking-to-himself reading of Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. And then it leaves you with just the silence.
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