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Nambucca Fables is an album steeped in beauty and sorrow, deep heartache and sweet remembrance.
A lot has happened in the intervening years since Mark released his last album Fever Dreams. Floods, fires and a pandemic descended, and just prior to that, on a devastating personal note, the sad and tragic loss of Mark’s mother. A highly personal labour of love, the dozen songs on the album find the songwriter exploring and processing grief and loss, memory and nostalgia, dreams and hallucinations.
There are flashbacks to childhood memories of towns and homes (Homecoming), an instrumental snapshot of his mother immersed in nature (The Absent Gardener), feeling like a ghost at her funeral (New Suit), the horror of Chernobyl and its parallels to the insidious advance of cancer (This Little Town), the incredible story of the return of a lost 1940s Tex Morton guitar (Ghost Guitar) and much more. In keeping with Mark’s holistic approach to his creativity – from the artwork to the videos, the songwriting and the music – the sound of the album is the perfect sonic canvas for his songs.
The first single ‘Every Waking Hour’ saw Mark’s lifetime of exploring the possibilities of the guitar in indie rock, jazz, power pop and beyond come to the fore on the song. Heroes like Nels Cline, Neil Young and Bill Frisell are omnipresent as Mark and his band create an exquisite blend of melodic Americana and indie pop-rock that descends into a frazzled, clattering heap as the song concludes.
“After grief, there is some kind of new balance… a new you,” Mark says of the song. “Damaged but somehow improved. A deeper understanding, more empathetic. Love finds new depths. Somehow you find you way out of that mist and into a new morning.”
On second single ‘New Suit’ the intricate interplay between the guitars of Moldre and Jamie Hutchings (Bluebottle Kiss, Infinity Broke) provides the sonic mesh that holds the song together, the nuances providing fascinating musical details that exist at the intersection between intelligent pop songs, and hallucinogenic folk and country music.
Right across Nambucca Fables, guitars jangle and rattle, soothe and disrupt as required, the rhythm section is constantly inventive in both traditional and more experimental styles and the use of violin, female backing vocals, banjo, melodica, Wurlitzer and Hammond organ, harmonica and more add beautiful organic textures.
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