For a decade now, Dan Brodie has been a master at skirting around the edges of a number of musical genres. He’s taken from rock, blues, alt-country and rockabilly, combining them all into his own decidedly Australian take on rock ’n’ roll. It’s the sound of cold beer and back porches in the summertime, sweaty inner city pubs and car stereos on the open road.
His last release was a covers set and it saw him creatively reimagining all manner of artists in his own dark and bruised style. The sound of that record carries over into much of the music on Funerária Do Vale though amid the country noir there are some jolts of wigged out psych rock such as the swirling ‘Un Deux Trois Saucisson!’ and dark rockabilly, wail and chug on ‘Post Millennial Blues’.
Opener ‘When We Turn To Dust’ sets the scene for a number of songs that explore the theme of loss and its echoing ramifications. It’s a beautiful track with a late-night bar and Bad Seeds piano vibe. It’s Brodie at his most reflective and in terms of his songwriting, right at the top of his game. ‘I’ve Been Here Before’ is a lighthearted, Stones’ish slide guitar romp while ‘Drugs Have Gone’ is Grandaddy jamming with Spiritualized. Brodie pairs two quite different drinking songs on the album. ‘We’ll Never Drink Again’ reflects on a broken relationship over a gentle rhythm and some banjo and trippy guitar effects while ‘Getting Fucked Up (Again)’ is a loose honky tonk ode to inebriation featuring Molly Jean Morrison.
There’s a wonderful range across this album, consummate songwriting and some fine playing. You sense that Brodie is a musical traditionalist at heart but a rebel spirit and the temptation to infiltrate his songs with fascinating sonic twists and turns of phrase make this an endlessly rewarding listen.