NR's first album was released in 2003. It is a dense, atmospheric and slow burning affair, and remains the unheralded blueprint of NR's methods. Songs such as ‘Rabbit Trapper’, ‘Down to the River’ and ‘Miss Pennsylvania’ told long, slow to unwind stories about individuals pinned down by their burdens in the Bush. The thoughtful engineering and production by Jack Rôbin allowed every instrumental nuance to be heard.
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Night Radio, Ghost Stories (Independent)
There is a thread from the Australian gothic imagination that runs right through this first release by Darrell Archer’s Sydney-based assemblage.
The band was formed in 1999, so its not surprising to find that this work comes fully formed. Perhaps its the allusions the bands biography make to sitting somewhere between the work of The Triffids and The Go Betweens, who also trawled similar territory, that provide some suitable benchmarks.
Certainly Archer is a country diarist, drawing a line on another life traversed between the city and the great divide. Archer's characters are the disaffected and the anonymous, operators in dark margins; the rabbit trapper who cares for nothing and none, the Tumut truck drivers on the Hume Highway, the guy who by the time he is 20 has death etched in his face. Everyone here is lost, disconnected, looking and not quite understanding how they got there.
And yet it is so Australian in its realisation that you hark back to poets and novelists for reference points; the dark subliminal Banjo Paterson, Joan Lindsay’s unearthly Miranda, the early somewhat macabre output of Peter Carey and more recently the dark underside of Tasmania in Chloe Hooper. Ghost Stories is so much about the mythologies of our landscape, that to see this music within just a musical tradition is not to understand its full meaning.
This is rare work literary, sometimes ethereal, with a voice that is almost pitted against itself to be heard. Wonderfully nuanced, strong but subtle playing from great players with carefully constructed arrangements that work to unravel the writing and support Archer’s sometimes difficult and fey vocal style.
Stephen Byrne - Rolling Stone
By the Roadside