Australian Ears 1: Wait Long by the River…


I’ve been contemplating a completely self indulgent series of posts on my favourite Australian albums. It’s boxing day. Sitting in front of the cricket. Eating a mango. Conversing with the family. Seems like a good time to be self indulgent. So, here we go.


Walked into Music Farmers in Wollongong (which back then was a tiny little store, as well as a label). Just browsing. An almost incomprehensible snarl and naked guitar licks arrested me. I instinctively reached for my wallet.

‘Whats’s playing?’

The DronesWait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By. (Yeah. They’re a little bleak.)

‘I’ll take it.’

The guy in the store was a little upset; the CD playing was the only copy they had left, and he was rather enjoying listening to it. Left the store with the album in hand, having only heard 90 seconds of the content. Handed over the cash. Wondered if I had again made the mistake of buying an album without due consideration. (I’ve a long history of buying albums based on cool cover art. Limited success.)

Went back to my mate Nick’s place. Sat together on his bed for the next hour, silently digesting stories of loneliness and dispossession. Two teenagers frozen in equal measure by terror and a strange contentedness. Watched the rain creep across Werri, striking the window. Standing on the deck watching my shadow stretch… Howling vocals sparring with sharp guitars. Then, mumbled phrases, palm-muted chords. Sitting on the edge of the bed cryin’… Punch and counter-punch. Ebb and flow. It was nothing new. It was (and is) brilliant.

Track 1: ‘Shark Fin Blues’. Recently voted by a bunch of well-known Australian musicians the greatest Australian song of all time. The got it right.

Bonus: Gareth Liddiard performing an acoustic rendition of ‘Shark Fin Blues’.


2 thoughts on “Australian Ears 1: Wait Long by the River…

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