When you see the names Adele & Glenn you almost expect them to be cordially inviting you somewhere. And it could just be that these two are welcoming you into “their house” on Carrington Street. Adele Pickvance and Glenn Thompson – once the rhythm section of The Go-Betweens while the latter was also the drummer for Custard – have graduated from being in two of Australia’s most-loved bands to making their own sweet music together. Their debut album, Carrington Street is full of an easygoing, homespun charm and plays out like chicken soup for the inner west soul.
The ten tracks were recorded at Thompson’s own Horses Of Australia Studio in Marrickville. It’s an idea the pair had had for years and one that finally came together after Adele moved to Sydney. Without the constraints of management, a label or any specific time deadline, the duo had the freedom to pore over every note and nuance. This means that this labour of love saw the pair become the sole guardians during the writing, recording and mixing processes, and it’s fair to say that this little baby is gonna make its parents very proud.
The first single, “I Dreamt I Was A Sparrow” has some smooth basslines and is filled with shadows and whimsy. It also sounds like a Crowded House number as Pickvance imagines herself as a bird following her old man around. In “Tomorrow Today” however, the tone changes for the first of many occasions on this LP. This one is full of skipping chords, sunshine and rainbows, meaning it sounds like the perfect compliment to the Thompson-penned, Custard classic “Music Is Crap”.
The buoyant pop continues with “Grey Suits”. Although more ballad-like and tender, in reality it is about labouring over the old grindstone. Then suddenly the topic turns from work to family and specifically to “Auntie Nelly”. The latter is a folk tale about an eccentric aunt, a weed-smoking woman who was born before her time.
In “Rescue” the pair change clothes and wear their best cowboy hats. It could also be renamed “50 Ways to Save Your Lover” because it boasts some of the country-fuelled heartbreak typically synonymous with The Audreys’ work. If that sounds heavy then rest assured it’s not, because this is actually some light and fluffy music. It’s a feel that extends into “Remembering Names” were some riffs that sound like they’ve been lifted from a fifties record are used to describe the moment where you trawl through the alphabet trying to remember an acquaintance’s name.
This well-crafted set of nostalgic tunes is completed by “City Of Sound,” a rocking ditty where we hurdle down the highway at a punk-like speed. Despite a harder edge, it also made me think of Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary”. And that’s before the listener leaves this punchy place for one that’s favoured by the songwriter of the latter track. On “Happiness” you could be sitting with John Fogerty as looks out his back door. If you do so, then you’ll discover that Thompson and Pickvance are doing a sweet boy-girl duet with some stark harmonica and a feel that is not unlike a number by John and June Carter Cash.
Carrington Street is a warm and crisp collection of songs and one for fans of Paul Kelly and Oh Mercy. There are pop, folk, rock and country moments and despite this, the feel is very cohesive. It’s a testament to the songwriting chops of these two very talented and creative minds.
Adele & Glenn make life on Carrington Street sound and seem so effortless that it could’ve been renamed “Easy Street”. Their experience in the biz has helped them make something that is very rich and also documents contemporary, Australian life with pure grace and charm. Ultimately, this is an easy, homespun record that has Aussie classic stitched into its every fibre i.e. into all of those carefully considered beats and flourishes. So really, the whole lot curls and comforts just like the wool straight off a sheep’s back…
Originally published on 30 June 2012 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/albums/album-review-adele-glenn-carrington-street-2012-lp
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