Plus One Records. Cat#: P1-28 Release: April 2008
Deathwish press release [pdf]
1. Pennies (Karlsson)
2. Say You Will (Salter/Harris)
3. Rain (Stoyles)
4. Deathwish (Macdonald)
5. Choppin’ Wood (Agars/Stoyles)
6. Book of Poison (Stunzner)
7. Slow Down (Regan)
8. Do Right (Karlsson)
9. Eternity (Salter)
10. Milli Vanilli (Lewis)
11. Gone (Stoyles)
12. I Am My Own Partner (Macdonald)
13. Shake Hands (Mansfield)
Brisbane and Melbourne based musical collective The Gin Club are proud to announce the release of their fourth studio album, Deathwish.
The Gin Club’s last effort, the critically acclaimed double LP Junk, was released in April 2008, resulting in relentless touring and heavy rotation of singles “Ten Paces Away” and “Days” on national broadcaster Triple J. However just four months after Junk’s release, in August 2008, the entire collective – Ben Salter, Bridget Lewis, Conor Macdonald, Adrian Stoyles, Scotty Regan, Ola Karlsson, Dan Mansfield and Gus Agars – were already decamped to “Prior Park”, the cattle property outside Rockhampton where much of Junk was recorded, to begin work on the follow-up.
Joined by Australian music icon Mick Thomas (Weddings, Parties, Anything & The Sure Thing) and long time collaborator Jacob S. Harris – as well as a motley assortment of friends, relatives, animals and props – they recorded over thirty songs in just under two weeks. Late last year, the entire group – sans the now departed Karlsson – came together at the suburban Brisbane studio of multi-instrumentalist Dan Mansfield to finish the job they had started some 18 months prior.
They over-dubbed parts on existing tracks, re-recorded others, and even at that late stage recorded some entirely new songs. The final 13 tracks – whittled down from some thirty three demos and recorded songs – were then sent to producer extraordinaire Magoo for mixing. The resulting album is a definite step forward for the group. With all eight members contributing songs, Deathwish is certainly possessed of the colourful mix of influences, voices and styles that have become the hall mark of The Gin Club. Some of the collective’s most blatantly ‘rock’ material – Karlsson’s Big Star inspired “Pennies”, Mansfield’s “Shake Hands” and Regan’s “Slow Down” – sit by some of their bleakest work ever – Salter’s lacerating “Eternity”, and Macdonald’s “I Am My Own Partner”.
Stoyles contributes two hook-laden pop gems in first single “Rain” and “Gone”, whilst Karlsson’s pastoral “Do Right”, Salter and Harris’s fingerpicked ballad “Say You Will” and Bridget Lewis’s ominous “Milli Vanilli” will appeal to fans of the group’s earlier work. Intriguingly, Deathwish also features a contribution from Salter’s brother-in-law Gordon Stunzner. Salter explains: “Gordon and my sister Anne own and run the cattle property “Prior Park”. I have always found the place very conducive to songwriting. Gordon taught me to play guitar and encouraged my development from very early on; and I always promised him I would repay the debt by encouraging him to write some songs of his own. I never expected the result would be as amazing as “Book of Poison”; it reminds me of an Australian version of Bill Callahan (Smog); but there is a strong Crowded House influence there as well. I’m extremely pleased with the result.”
Dan Mansfield, who along with long-time Gin Club ally Murray Paas was largely responsible for engineering and over-seeing production of Deathwish, had this to say: “The Gin Club have always done things our way and stuck to our guns. We trust our instincts. This album epitomises our self-sufficient approach to our art. It is something we can genuinely say is ours, and we’re very proud of that”. In spite of its multifarious contributors and collaborators, Deathwish – like Junk before it – has a cohesion that defies rational explanation, and a resonance that is greater than the sum of its parts. It confirms The Gin Club as one of the finest collections of performers and songwriters ever assembled under one banner in Australia, or anywhere else.