So Lost is the debut album from local Melbourne outfit The Lost Shepards, this is a collective with a lengthy musical history, much of it formed in the burgeoning pub rock scene of the late 70's and early 80's. The group consists of Nigel Lawrence (poet and musician who played in a number of melbourne bands), Ian McDonald (bass player with Stars) Slim Whittle (aka Mitchell Faircloth heard on 3RRR's Punter to Punter), Mick Ball, Eric Lowes, David Glanville, Justin Brady (Things of Stone and Wood), Kelvin Fleming and Rob Stephens.
What is most striking about this album is it's diversity but also it's sense of spontaneity and fun. It's anything but complacent in it's treatment of roots music, it goes beyond it to embrace different styles, showcasing the great musicianship that the band possesses. The opening track Amanda Brown is a tribute of sorts to the Pogues and has a wonderfully loose feel.
Tonight I want to go downtown
On the arm of Amanda Brown
We'll drink to the health of Shane MacGowan
And roll home in the morning.
Outside the law sounds a little like Dylan and The Band on the Basement Tapes a mesh of accordions, mandolin and fiddle, lots of deft musical flourishes, it's a tough tale of life on the other side of the law. Canals and Cars takes the band in a different direction, it's more bare with some tight harmonies. It's a whimsical and touching look at children who choose to travel overseas, a rite of passage especially for my generation. It's an interesting look at how it's seen from the other side and how tough it can for parents to see their kids leave for overseas, often for several years. The Police Came Round Today has that old time laconic country style, it captures the bands sense of humour. What to Do reminds me a little of Old Crow Medicine Show, it has a darker sound but it also has traces of gypsy music with those soaring fiddle lines floating alongside the accordion.
The Lost Shepards will be playing live next Sunday at the Caravan Music club in Oakleigh, check out their facebook page for details, it will be a great gig.