i feel like i should have loved darren hanlon from the beginning. he’s got a lovely distinctive voice, plays effusive but not overwrought folk, and writes lyrics that require many listens to fully grasp every word and concept. he also seems to be a really decent bloke.
i don’t really know why he didn’t enter my consciousness until at least mid-way through his career to date. the first i thought that i should have known him, because i liked him, was when i bought and watched the meredith music festival film released in 2006.
his style yearns of the likes of the go betweens and paul kelly, unlike many of his contemporaries in australia who didn’t really go there. this is another album that doesn’t have a lot of internal diversity, but it doesn’t suffer for that. take as an example the long story of scenes from a separation, replete with sixteen verses. also, folk insomnia that follows a great arc with very simple arrangements.
house makes the greatest case for a vivid story that you feel you’re living, or had lived, as he sings it. in it, he contemplates knocking on the door of a house he lived in with a lover some time ago – and when you think about that, it wouldn’t make sense. the most you would see is that it looked just the same; but worse, completely different. the outcome would never have been a sense of relief or joy. just melancholia at best. it comes back to why you would even think of doing it in the first place. this is cemented in his conclusion, now some memories are precious as a diamond, and others you have to think what they’re good for, but they’re best if they’re left in a place you can’t find them.
he’s also excellent at writing gems of songs that make the best singles – here they are butterfly bones (below) and all these things, but in equal proportion the non-single buy me presents. they are perfectly contained folk cross pop. a distillation.
and yet, i still haven’t encountered him. i have to change this.
what can we say? it was supposed to end this way. now we disappear. what will we miss the most? the feel of sun, the taste of beer.