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ALBUM REVIEW: Watty Thompson – S/T




It’s a rare thing for an artist to arrive on the scene as fully formed and creatively realised as Victorian Watty Thompson. Most songwriters take a few albums to figure out how to craft their music into its ideal shape. Thompson has done it on his first swing. A reckoning of contemporary Australian country folk and baroque bush rock ’n’ roll.

Thompson is clearly a storyteller, a raconteur, a poet and an irrepressible character. He uses a wide palette of pedal steel, guitars, violin, and more, courtesy of his eight-piece Total Fire Band. That allows him to venture into all manner of styles, from straight country ballads, indie rock shakedowns, communal sing-alongs and traditional folk-rock. 

‘Jenny’ is an early winner, a heartfelt love song. ‘City To Run’ is undeniably infectious, championing a metropolitan escape and ‘The Beauty That Surrounds Ya’ celebrates this country’s flora and fauna. One can draw a line back through The Bad Seeds, Cash Savage, Paul Kelly and The Drones – a rich Victorian streak. Thompson shares some vocal similarities with the latter’s Gareth Liddiard, both in the sound of his voice and the expansive and evocative lyrical approach. 

In one sense this debut album is a self help tape for a new generation of young adults grappling with love, self care, staying connected with nature and shaping one’s dreams with positivity and passion. Thompson channels nearly all of that into the 10 minute epic album closer ‘Coming Home’. This is one of the finest releases you’ll hear in 2023. An outstanding opus of passionate existentialism.



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