Edward Guglielmino can lay claim to having been thrown off stage and for engaging in a public stoush with a large corporation over his choice of band logo. Through this, Guglielmino proves that he is no ordinary musician. He’s really an artist. He likes to say what he thinks, is unafraid of the repercussions and these elements come through in his steadfastly honest songwriting.
He released a series of independent albums and EPs in the early naughties, and in 2009 released his first solo album proper, Late At Night. Some three years on and he has decided to follow this up with a backing band called The Show who reads like a who’s who of underground and indie Queensland musicians. The result is Sunshine State, a darkly gothic slice of rather bittersweet folk-rock. It’s also as rich as a millionaire and as honest and as sad as a prisoner on death row.
Guglielmino is known for his unique style of cerebral writing. Although he grew up in Australia, it actually sounds like it has come from the pen of a European artist. Perhaps because of this, it is easy to draw parallels between Sunshine State and Ned Collette + Wirewalker’s recent album, 2, because the latter was inspired by his recent stint in Berlin.
‘Mothers’ is the perfect altar for Guglielmino’s low, baritone voice. It’s a soft croon bolstered by occasional bursts of brass. It is calm but also has a sporadic and sinister feel that sees us through into ‘Walking My Way’, which has the cool sway of a 45 from the fifties.
Jeff Buckley springs to mind at the start of ‘Swam In The Water’ until the drums kick in. This song almost plays out like at least five different pieces of music, as some shredded guitar-work keeps us on our toes, before we’re lead off on a different tangent and you get the sense of a pool of water glistening in the distance.
‘Old Fire’ is another strange beast, where an eerie flutter rings out as though someone has left a record on in a dark, empty room. There are ghostly apparitions meeting for a decadent ritual, while the strange, ambient noise could be from a weird, avant-garde soundtrack heard in a modern art museum.
Then we go off on tangent number 99 on single, ‘You’ll Be The Death Of Me’. This one is a bouncy pop number that is almost at odds with the ominous feel of the rest of the material. The call and response, almost sing-song-like quality of it is great fun. It’s also about an excellent sense of juxtaposition, as something that sounds so big and bright is also about someone who seems obsessed (at least in a lyrical sense) with a morbid topic. It’s moments like these that Guglielmino shows off his truly wicked sense of humour and this gets confirmed as he leads us further off the beaten track with the pulsing fuzz of ‘Alice’ and the acoustic, Chris Isaak-like ballad, ‘Mary’.
Edward Guglielmino loves to experiment because he has previously acknowledged in the press that he likes to record all sorts of chords and ideas onto his computer, irrespective of their apparent level of quality. For Sunshine State, he assembled a grand mélange of sonic soundscapes, musical tangents and all-round experiments to ultimately craft something that is deep, poetic and strong. The depraved affair is held together by his baritone voice and proves to be a visceral one for the listener; full of feelings and perceptions, and as complex and raw as a human being stripped to their very core.
Originally published on 17 October 2012 at the following website: http://www.thedwarf.com.au/album_review/sunshine-state
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