the fauves – japanese engines

i’m counting now – more australian music than i honestly realised i had. to be fair, i bought this recently (it is a 2011 release) during a phase of unrelenting nostalgia for the mid 1990s and the height of my youth. i didn’t buy anything by the fauves at the time, though their songs were ubiquitous.

they were a feature of radio, video and magazines for a good ten years. i perhaps unfairly thought of them as a bit of a joke band. but even this album, over 20 years after they started, contains their signature sound. andrew cox’s voice of perfectly blended high and low pitches; prominent warm bass; churning rhythm guitars; and enough melodic hooks to make every song feel like a single. i don’t mean that disparagingly.

they had a way of telling stories that worked in what other bands would scream (swearing, for example), or otherwise over-emote; instead making it normal, part of the everyday. this could make it verge, sometimes, on pedestrian. but their humour outshone it all. in the same token, i didn’t realise it was a hard journey for them in some ways.

it’s funny what hindsight and lots of time does to people. it helps when you find out way after the fact that the dude, andrew, is an animal activist. also, i had a weird crush on him back then… now, maybe more than ever.

and i think there’s more to say at some point about the struggles of all but a few bands who had the fortune to have the stars align in their favour. the fact that making music for most artists is not sustainable, to give life, is a harsh reality that makes fan expectation even more selfish and vulgar.

i re-evaluate. but to what end? they’re still making music, so perhaps there is no end yet?


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