Red Night Falling
9 Track, LP (2008, In-Fidelity Records)
Related: Nathan Hollywood.
This is a strong second album from an ex-Brisbanite, now a resident in Melbourne. Nathan Hollywood’s seductive voice and matinee idol looks belie an interesting history, with an unusual family background and a well-travelled past, particularly the stretch he spent living in Mexico, giving him an edge of insight and plenty of material to work with.
The work that Dan Brodie did a few years back, with and without his Broken Arrows, may be a convenient (lazy) reference point - but it’s one that doesn’t quite somehow. Hollywood is darker, moodier, and has much more depth.
Recorded on vintage equipment, the rich sound quality is often outdone by the bleak chill and Biblical feel of much of the lyrics, though there is plenty of warmth and sly humour to be found here, as well as lots of love, and death, mostly delivered in a hushed baritone over minimal acoustic backing.
The sparse, elegant two step of ‘Gravedigger’s Lullaby’ features the haunting sound of a musical saw. Played with a bow, it has an eerie sound that leaves your theremins in the shade. The handclaps that end ‘Mockingbird’ could well be the sound of clods of earth falling on a coffin lid.
Some text book Spanish - “mariposa”, “joven”, “mi amor” - will get you through ‘El Andareigo’, originally by Mexican fandango legend Alvaro Carrillo, while ‘Down Here in the Rain’ is a lusher affair than the whole album put together.
‘The Story Of The Farmer Who Killed His Wife In His Sleep, Ate Her, Then Awoke’ (which has to be contender for title of the year), builds slowly with plucked steel strings echoing behind a flat black bedtime story. It then erupts into controlled feedback as the lyrics plunge into a story of visions of white cats rising from sleeping mouths, and persistent night-time visitors to kitchen doors.
This album would sound as good on a cold Melbourne night as it would on a hot Deniliquin afternoon. Listen alone, without the lyric sheet, catching stray glimpses of red through shadow, fog or dust.
by Trevor Block