Image Courtesy of TinPan Orange
TinPan Orange have always a unique part of the Australian indie-folk scene. While so many of their contemporaries draw from the singer-songwriter traditions of people like Nick Drake and Bob Dylan, TinPan have managed to infuse an old world charm into their music that you just don’t hear anywhere else. There’s something 1920s about their sound, something French, something a little bit country dance and something very very sophisticated – all wrapped together in a polished folk package. Which all makes their new album, Over The Sun, one of the most anticipated Australian releases this year.
Opening with the waltz “Birdy” the first thing you notice, as always with TinPan Orange, is Emily Lubitz glorious, sumptuous voice. Part Edith Piaf, part indie-pop chanteuse Lubitz’s voice has always been the centre upon which the rest of TinPan Orange revolves and it’s great to hear her up the front of the mix in almost every track on Over The Sun – producer Steven Schram has done a fantastic job here.
Once you’ve settled into Emily Lubitz’s vocals you begin to notice just how truly talented the rest of TinPan Orange is. Alex Burkoy’s violin parts, particularly on “Birdy” and “Like Snow”, are more than just accompaniment and are elevated far beyond “fiddle player”. Burkoy adds an almost classicial element to the songs although his gypsy-jazz roots do still shine through. The way he layers his violin (among the other instruments he plays) give each of the songs depth and really bring out the old-world sound of the bands. I also love Jesse Lubitz’s guitar parts throughout – from his big, ballsy country style electric on tracks like “Flowers” and “Supergirl” to the gentle acoustic of “Lamb”. Jesse Lubitz is really what grounds TinPan firmly in the folk and country genres.
The two newest additions to the band – Harry James Angus on keys and Daniel Farrugia on drums – are surprisingly highly visible throughout Over The Sun and really are part of the band, not just session musos or the rhythm section. Angus has played keys with TinPan for a while as part of their live show (when his commitments with other bands have allowed him), but this is the first time I’ve heard him really driving a lot of the tracks. Farrugia, who joined the band last year, is a constant rock upon which each track is built – I would have argued when Farrugia first joined the band that they didn’t really need a drummer, now I wonder what they did without him. “Barcelona” is the one track that really highlights how integrated Harry James Angus and Daniel Farrugia are into the band providing a groove that just propels the song along and makes it one of the most catchy on the album.
Lyrically my favourite song on the album is “Supergirl” with its dark take on what it would be like to have a superhero as a girlfriend with the undertone that seems firmly placed in reality. Musically I’m a huge fan of “Over The Sun” with its dynamic and time signature changes along with the Ben Folds Five like “nah nah nah” middle eight demanding repeated listening. And I have to mention the cover of “Round The Twist” (yes, the theme song from the 80s/90s childrens television show) which I’ve seen performed live and fits so perfectly with the rest of the songs on Over The Sun.
Overall Over The Sun is an intellegent, mature and captivating album from the Melbourne five-piece. The album should see TinPan Orange shake off the shackles of being “just another indie-folk band” and elevate them in the hearts and minds of music lovers across the country.
Over The Sun is available now. TinPan Orange are currently throughout the country – their remaining dates are below:
Saturday 13th October – Woombye Pub, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 14th October – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 25th October – The Bakery, Perth, WA
Friday 26th October – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
Wednesday 7th November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 8th November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th November – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 24th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby
Sunday 25th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby