Writing about a compilation is no easy task, especially when the output of said band, The Sugargliders in this case, was so limited, especially to ears on American soil. Luckily for us, the hardworking folks over at Matinee Recordings have just released A Nest With a View, a collection of the Melbourne group’s singles and their one LP from 1990-1994. If you’re looking to get your hands on a classic indie pop record that sounds just as relevant today as it did when it originally was released, then this is precisely the album for you.
“Ahprahran” begins our re-introduction to The Sugargliders, basically the project of the young Meadows brothers. What struck me on this first track is how much I can see this being a vital part of any indie pop collection in the present day. String arrangements accentuate the incredible melody, and the fact that the guitar sounds like it’s being carefully picked rather than sung only thrills me more. It’s not the only standout track, in fact, most of these tracks hold up well on their own, but my current favorite is “Letter from a Lifeboat.” There’s this minimal percussive element, and the guitar is carefully picked from the opening minute, almost like a classical guitar player. Then the Meadows brothers combine their vocals to craft this fluid harmony that continues to fascinate me the more I play it.
But, for all my love of the aforementioned tracks, there’s plenty within the confines of A Nest With a View to capture your ears. I like how “Sway” opens with this wayward harmonica, crafting a melancholy time that’s reinforced by the lyrical content of a person moving on from their loved one. You also have to appreciate the earnestness of the songwriting in “Police Me,” a song that reaches its climax when the lyric of “it’s true” is shouted amidst the intricate guitar playing of the group. Of course, I’m always a sucker for added instrumentation like horns and strings, such as those little flourishes you find on the collections final track, “Top 40 Sculpture.”
I know that not everyone has the same fascination I do with brilliant indie pop music, but I’m glad that modern technology allows us to go back in time and expose the heart and soul of the movement. I’m always amazed at the work accomplished by bands like The Sugargliders long ago, and although it’s nearly two decades from their time, it still sounds every bit as relevant in today’s genre. A Nest With a View is an exquisite snapshot of a band that left us with a brief career, but one that, as evidenced here, surely stands the test of time. You can only say that about the greatest of tunes.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/01-Ahprahran.mp3]
Download:The Sugargliders – Ahprahran [MP3]
A Nest With a View is available now from Matinee Recordings.