Thursday, 17 January 2013

Albums for Life: 65: David Bridie: Act of Free Choice

David Bridie is a mate and my inverted bias (uh?) is probably working against him here; this should surely be a lot higher; I've played it to death.
We met over ten years ago, drawn together, I think, by press comparisons of our writing and voices. This was a compliment for me as David is a fine composer and singer. He started his career with Melbourne band Waving Not Drowning and then went on to form My Friend the Chocolate Cake. Their organic, acoustic approach won them many fans worldwide and they have produced a string of fine albums. Think Penguin Cafe Orchestra with a gentle voice and lyrical smarts. A good summation of their early career can be found on the compilation 'Review' which you can buy here. They are still going strong and released their last album 'Fiasco' in 2011.
Meanwhile, back in 2000, David was in London and he invited me down to The Dairy Studios in Brixton where he was recording his first solo album with co-producer Ian Caple (Tricky/Tindersticks). I got to see the album developing at first hand. It showcased Bridie's penchant for simple, addictive melody, but highlighted his experimental spirit with a deliberate move away from acoustic and orchestral instrumentation in favor of electronic soundscapes. There's an adventurous ambience here akin to David Sylvian's more accessible work; the album is dark and contemporary but rooted in the outback, a spiritual wilderness that informs songs such as "The Koran, the Ghan and a Yarn" and "Kerosene." There's a whiff of Massive Attack in the artful beats, but at the heart of it all is Bridie's big heart. The whole thing has an effortless accessibility. Not many could make a tank top look so stylish...

This is a lovely, addictive album, full of melody and moody melancholy. Perfect wallpaper; even better studied close up in the headphones; it begs to be listened to as a whole. Di's signed copy says "lose yourself in this". Typical David; a craftsman who knows his target. He's still around, stirring up the political hotpot down under, composing film music, producing albums for himself, MFTCC and 'World Artists' like Papua New Guinea's George Telek. Check out 'Serious Tam' here. 
If you haven't heard this album, do yourself a favour; get it here for 0.01p, worth every penny...


  1. A mighty fine lp and I think the most consistent thing he has done , certainly the best of his solo stuff.

    I fianlly got round to getting a compilation of waving not drownings stuff , it was closer to MFTCC than i imagined it would be for sone reason

  2. I'm hoping that there will be some news soon about any future releases.
    I'll keep you posted.