Sunday, January 10, 2010

Solid Aussie rock - Goanna's Spirit of Place

I had never even heard of early 80s Aussie rock band, Goanna, until Wayne introduced me to their (more or less) only album last night - but then I hadn't heard of hardly anyone until a few months ago, so that didn't necessarily mean much. But then a quick check with my nephew revealed that he hadn't heard of them either so it made me think that maybe this band really was one that never got very far into the limelight.

But when you combine some good solid Australian rock with music that seems connected to the Australian landscape, the Australian spirit, with its indigenous roots and its eternal sense of wandering and restlessness, you can't help but wonder why this music never became more popular. It flows with a soft rock beat, and overflows with catchy hooks that bring you in, hook, line and sinker, before you have even noticed their deeper, more serious edge.

Spirit of Place is far from just an album of simple songs about an easy life in a sun-drenched land. They are songs full of yearning and often of anger - like in the anthem to Aboriginal land rights, accusing as much as pleading, of 'Solid Rock (Sacred Ground)', perhaps the first piece of rock music to incorporate a didgeridoo; or the challenges to hold onto what you know to be right, brought to you via the folk-infused vocals of Roslyn Bygrave, stirring and rousing in 'Stand yr' Ground', moving and inspirational in 'On the Platform'; or the way gently weeping electric guitar phrases urge us to remember our debt to the land in 'Children of the Southern Land'.

These songs are tremendous examples of what can be done, and of what power can be wrought, just by employing the trusted basics of music - good, unpretentious melodies and solid, reliable beats - with conviction and musicianship.

Spirit of Place is a good way of showing that music doesn't have to break into totally uncharted territory to sound new and innovative - it just has to have some honesty, some point, some spirit.

Thanks Wayne for introducing me to Goanna, and to these brave and spirited songs that speak to us as loudly now, and as earnestly, as they did in 1982.

No comments:

Post a Comment