With roots in some of Melbourne’s most iconic bands in the past (Sacred Cowboys and The Wreckery), the meeting of Garry Gray and Ed Clayton-Jones can only result in something quite special and anarchic – and it has. Their new collaboration ‘We Mainline Dreamers’ teeters on the brink of chaos and order – a series of discursive, rambling musical notes that coalesce into something quite cathartic and engaging.
At the heart is a nautical tale of chaos and confusion, a rollicking set of stories bound by a wry poeticism and reverberated guitars that stumble and career like an inebriated sailor, and yet somehow manages to maintain an elegance and sufficiency replete with a rich vein of melody and atmosphere. From the rambling shuffle of ‘Mercury Retrograde’ to the balladry of ‘Life, Death, Infinity’ with its wailing, crying instrumentation to the grandeur of the title track, this is a glorious stuff.
At times, the duo veer close to a Rowland S Howard barbed-wire pop attack – witness ‘The Blood and Bone Man’ with its psychedelic shuffle, howling guitars and rousing chorus like a rabid preacher. The psychedelic esoteric side of the dial is touched in final track ‘Inside The Atom’ – a squeaky, rattling rambling journey into the heart of darkness that echoes inside the brain.
The duo make a suitably opaque comment on the lusty tales being told in this album:
The ride. Across the oceans of time they set sail, in a ragged ship all torn and faded. A skeleton crew attached and a destination unknown – thus began the story of We Mainline Dreamers – the sun was setting but there was a drumming through the jungle that two old sea dogs had met in a bar in Cancun, after thirty years out of touch these men thought there was nothing for it but to build a new ship and sail it out into the uncertain waters, one more cruise to the sirens rocks, to a vortex erasing time and space, the place of certain madness and rabid desires, the Atlantis of 1960’s TV horror and perennial loss.
The result is a whole operatic piece, a complete movement (like a ship tossed on a wild sea), something to immerse yourself in and to wallow around with abandon. Scything guitars and wailing songs, a certain dissonance and dischord: this is a collaboration that has taken 40 years to make and as such has matured beautifully like a fine gallon of wine.
‘We Mainline Dreamers’ is out now through Melbourne label Spooky Records (‘concentrating on the seamier side of Rock ‘N Roll’).