The story goes like this: songwriter Craig Dermody ups sticks from Melbourne, moves to New York in pursuit of a girl, struggles to adjust to life in the city, gets homesick, writes highly personal songs about his experiences as if he's singing straight from a journal, receives critical acclaim and eyebrow-raising comparisons with Lou Reed, Tom Verlaine and Jonathan Richman.
Not a bad outcome for a band taking its name from a pivotal ‘80s moment in the Aussie soap Neighbours.
'Any Port In A Storm' is an album that requires you to scrape through a sheen of jangly guitars, upbeat rhythms and what feel like optimistically-sung lyrics in order to find its fragile, broken heart.
'Fakin' NYC' is case in point – though outwardly cheerful, listen closely to the lyrics and you'll hear Dermody imparting a quiet confession that he finds everything about his position in NY – working the door and entry policy at a trendy club – to be fake and unnecessary, providing a backbone of detachment, restlessness and cynicism toward his environs.
There is a definite whiny, punky recklessness to 'Any Port In A Storm', a feeling of intentional roughness and rawness mixed with genuine musical chops and strained emotional frankness. It smacks of catharsis on the part of its creator.
“We don't always get what we want” is the summary message here, perfectly summed-up in that line from the album's closing track, 'Wild Heart'.
Words: Mat Smith
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