Nick Batterham – Lovebirds album out now via Cheersquad Records & Tapes
“Rich, evocative, haunting, beautifully harsh, ‘Thirty Four’ is a bruising affair, a tender, raw, at times simmering indie rock journey drenched in wonderfully emotive piano.” – Gareth Bryant, Scenstr
“‘Turbulence’ is a deft slow-burner of a track, with gentle instrumentation helping turn Batterham’s smooth, soaring voice into an almost otherworldly instrument of beauty” – Tyler Jenke, Rolling Stone
“Delightfully serene… a musical journey of introspection and self-evaluation.” – Tom Williams, Beat
NICK BATTERHAM – LOVEBIRDS OUT TODAY!
Words by Josh Meadows:
On his sixth solo album much-loved Melbourne musician Nick Batterham serves up a lavish feast of orchestral pop that explores love’s dizzy highs and heart-wrenching lows.
As a solo artist and creative force in The Earthmen, Blindside and more recently The Bell Streets, Batterham has become a master at crafting sparkling pop songs, memorable guitar licks and irresistible melodies.
On Lovebirds he builds on these foundations – and on the experience of composing an album of original classical music for Rone’s award-winning 2019 Empire project – to make a record that is at times warm and inviting, but also knows how to convey the chill of aloneness.
The album opens with a goodbye. Turbulence typifies Lovebirds‘ extravagance, as a simple piano ballad breaks loose to become a soaring epic of strings and horns, while the lyric offers a blessing of sorts to a former lover: ‘May everywhere you fly from here be safe and smooth, high up above my turbulence…’
The sharp observations are reminiscent of Elliot Smith or Elvis Costello, while the production nods to Phil Spector at his most opulent.
Graceful Lady With The Lamps, with its country jangle, whirring organ and lyrical cello, is a falling in love song. Batterham catches the feelings of a love that’s still new – the excitement of being smitten (‘In the back of my mind you’re setting up camp’) and the self-doubt that’s never far away (‘Does this skinny have a chance?’).
Batterham’s main vocal is beautifully complemented by the voices of Kelly Day (Broads) and long-time collaborators Nick Murray and Jethro Woodward.
On Thirty Four, classical instruments and a slide guitar join forces to build the feeling of a storm brewing. ‘You’re making me stay,’ Batterham sings, ‘holding my arms like I might fly away.’
When it’s intimate, it’s very intimate. Galaxy is a delicately orchestrated plea for honesty that concludes with Batterham whispering in the listener’s ear, ‘You can build your home in me and be my galaxy.’
Batterham’s palette contains the full spectrum of musical colour on this album as rock instruments combine with violin, viola, cello, double bass, cor anglaise, saxophone, flute, clarinet, trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet and trombone.
The colours are vivid on No Perfect Man, with rich orchestration painting bright lights and deep shadows, like a Caravaggio. Ripeness turns to decay. ‘The centre could not hold,’ Batterham sings, echoing the words of Irish poet W. B. Yeats from a century ago.
The album’s final track, Broken Tambourine, ends with an observation that sounds prescient as the world nervously makes its way into 2021: ‘It takes time and care to grow into the new normal.’
Lovebirds is the perfect album for an era of uncertainty which sees so many people yearning for security and new beginnings. Within its 11 songs listeners will find, as Batterham sings on Follow The River, ‘joy and sorrow and all between’.
Nick Batterham Lovebirds Album Launch
Primrose Potter Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre
Friday 25 June
Tickets on sale now via Melbourne Recital Centre
Lovebirds is out now
Limited edition vinyl available via Cheersquad Records & Tapes
2. Graceful Lady With The Lamps
3. Pretty Lights
4. No Perfect Man
5. Thirty Four
6. It’s Over
7. The Bright Side Of Me
8. Follow The River
11. Broken Tambourine
Written and recorded by Nick Batterham
Nick Murray: guitar, backing vocals
Jethro Woodward: bass, backing vocals
Ben Wiesner: drums
Kelly Day: backing vocals
Zoë Black: violin
Chris Moore: viola
David Berlin: cello
Damien Eckersley: double bass
Michael Pisani: cor anglais
Adam Simmons: saxophone, flute, clarinet
Tristan Rebien: trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet
Don Immel: trombone
Mastered by John Ruberto at Mastersound
Graphic design by Carl Breitkreuz