Shane Howard - Dark Matter

On Compact Disc

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Dark Matter is the 14th solo album by Australian singer songwriter Shane Howard, released in April 2020 via Goanna Arts.

Shane Howard was a founding member of Australian folk rock band Goanna who found chart success in Australia with the single “Solid Rock” (1982), the first commercial song to use a didjeridu, and “Let The Franklin Flow” (1983). He has pursued a successful solo career after Goanna disbanded in 1985.

This description is extracted from Shane Howard’s website, written by Tony Hillier:

Dark Matter is arguably the deadliest album yet in the distinguished solo recording career of Shane Howard, one of the most enduringly engaging and socially conscious Australian singer-songwriters of the past 40 years.

Strong and occasionally scathing in message and metaphor yet softened by the troubadour’s mellifluous voice, ear for a melody and poetic words, it hits with a velvet glove while hammering out some home truths. Dreamtime legends and biblical citations sit in perfect sync with eco-political concerns, historical and cultural references and various collaborations. Between the sound of thunder and rain that bookend Dark Matter and storm clouds of despondency lay bursts of sunshine, optimism and expressions of love in the shape of exquisite strings-laced, female accompanied ballads, “Wild Rivers” and “The Sweetest Thing”.

Goanna-esque folk-rockers “This Country” and “Times Like These” articulate wisdom and vulnerability over driving rhythm. The latter features Howard and his partner-in-rhyme, Redgum’s John Schumann, swapping verses between clipped Mark Knopfler-like guitar fills. In “Palya Wiru Uluru”, an upbeat piece prompted by the cessation of climbing at ‘The Rock’, Howard takes a twangy country turn in tandem with Pitjantjatjara elder Trevor Adamson. The equally engaging “Wattah”, which also contains Indigenous language, was written with West Victorian Aborigine Andy Alberts to commemorate the repatriation of bones returned from museums in Australia and abroad. Howard recruited Archie Roach, another soulmate, to add lyrics from an Aboriginal perspective to his telemovie score for “Secret River”, in which he deftly incorporates the melody of English folk standard Greensleeves.

The questioning opener “What Do You Want From Me?” and back-to-bush ode “World Going ‘Round” are excellent co-compositions with long-time collaborator Phil Butson. The quizzical “Writing On The Wall” (“Why are the ears not listening? /Why can’t the voices be heard?”) is astutely offset by the bouncy folk-pop feel of “Lay Your Burden Down” that follows.

Interpolating a jarring Kurdish folk tune in a song inspired by Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani’s book is about the only dubious move in an otherwise impeccably arranged and executed album that merits a place on the same pedestal as Howard’s/Goanna’s classic 1982 long-player Spirit Of Place, which yielded Aboriginal rights anthem and radio staple “Solid Rock”.

This album is on compact disc housed in a carboard gatefold sleeve, pressed in Australia via Goanna Arts.

(746160018225)

Tracklisting:

 

No.

Track

1

What Do You Want From Me? (Job & The Goanna Man)

2

Try

3

This Country (Ngintaka Inma)

4

World Going 'Round

5

Wild Rivers

6

Writing On The Wall

7

Lay Your Burden Down

8

Secret River

9

Payla Wiru Uluru

10

Prison Island

11

Times Like These

12

Come Down Moses

13

Wattah

14

The Sweetest Thing

SKU 746160018225
Record Label Goanna Arts
Label / Model # Independent
Catalogue Number GA200101
Country AU - Australia
Release Date (Year) 12 June 2020
Original Release Date (Year) 12 June 2020
Barcode # 746160018225
Shipping Weight 0.0400kg
Shipping Width 0.010m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000986000m3
Type New
Format Compact Disc, CD, Digipack
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Folk
Format CD

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