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The Society Islands: still getting a handle on the whole 'keeping dry' thing.

There used to be a time when I’d hear about new music because I saw it on Countdown, a much-loved Sunday-night music show here in Australia.  Or I’d read about it in the free street press, when I pretended to know about what the next big thing would be.  Or I’d hear it on my crackly old transistor radio (where on earth did that go?).  Or I’d overhear some kid much cooler than me talking about it in the schoolyard, or I’d spot a sticker on a folder when I was meant to working out what the hell the teacher had just written on the board.  A third of a century later it just magically turns up courtesy of this whole interweb thing.  Which is one of the perks of this brave new world we live in, I guess.

So…getting to the point…some new music:

I’d not heard of The Society Islands before (neither the place nor the band), but I have now.  Essentially The Islands are a one-man band formed by Boris Rogowski, one talented bastard based in Cologne, Germany.  And their latest album, the rather ominously titled Last Hero of the Western World is well worth a listen.  I don’t do mp3s on Under the Flutter (partly out of technological ineptness, but also because of the principle – it’s not so bad to actually pay for music every now and again), but you can visit the band here or check out LastFM to listen to a few of the tracks.

There’s an obvious intelligence to the songwriting, which is both dramatic and melodic, in parts reminding me of Jeff Buckley if he was a little more on the Jarvis Cocker side (and, of course, a little less on the dead side).  There’s even some David Bowie in the clarity of the voice and the elocution. Mostly, however, I hear Canada’s The Dears, particularly in the biting, cynical though at times very funny lyrics and the cinematic feel to much of the music.  For me, it’s the last two tracks that are the real killers,’No Place Home’ and ‘The Filing Cabinet’; here the dramatics are kept in check and the melancholic melodies allowed to work their evil magic, a little like a less morose Antlers.

By the sounds of it, The Society Islands (which, for those wondering, are a group of islands in the south Pacific Ocean and were named by James Cook in honour of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of that neck of the woods) are the epitome of determination, with Mr Rogowski pushing on regardless of whether or not this album gets picked up by a major.

Certainly worth a few minutes of your time to get your ears wrapped some of the beauties on offer here.

Now, if only Countdown made a comeback.  Anyone?

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The past