Electric and haunting are the first words to come to mind when describing the new EP from Northern Beaches hippie-rockers, Burn Antares. Followed quickly by the heady imagery that coalesces with other sixties cliches: patchouli, clove cigarettes, beaded doorways, bell-bottoms, hyacinths and sunflowers. After hearing it, you too won’t want to leave.
Sydney’s Burn Antares embody all the fiery power of the sixties with their rich, hazy collection of psychedelic memories on Fur Coat And The Peace Boat.
Fur Coat And The Peace Boat is a deliciously hazy, addictive, blissed out collection of melodies, pretty and eclectic arrangements, and the faded-wonderful (yes, that’s a term, damnit!). Containing the essential storytelling fabric utilised by Fleetwood, early Neil Young and Patsy Cline, Burn Antares cleverly modernise the sixties sound, akin to Canada’s retro-rock infused Black Mountain. But while Black Mountain pervade a darker spectrum of this special musical place with an omnipresent sense of vague dread, Burn Antares wander afield barefoot with a different vibe altogether.
Living up to the EP’s title, the album steals the heart and the imagination from the get go. Singer Grace Farriss’ voice lurches, quivers, lilts, caresses; she is the goddess in the grain, a Stevie for our generation – that fur coat, cowboy hat and paisley secrets awash in super eight. God, that voice; dusty, velvet and vibrating with luscious nostalgia. Vangablonde stands out in particular. Comprised of goosebump-inducing notes and a wonderful guitar progression, from the folk-flamenco opening to the crooning, sad-pop flavor Burn Antares are steeped in and was only ever found in another era. Until now.
Vangablonde made me think immediately of Nights In White Satin and its catchy melancholy. Musically, the band (Sean Casey, Thom Eagleton, Tom Hoglund and Daniel Murchison) provide the details of a world we are drawn into. Intelligent, thoughtful melodies are so perfectly constructed around Farriss’ vocals, but stand strong and powerful on their own. During moments where guitars are allowed to linger in smoky contemplation, the keys and drums cat-creep in and out of one another subtly to complete the dream.
Knight In Shining and Rich Man display the band’s diversity, touching on Cline’s jukebox country spunkiness through to psychedelic explorations akin to Jefferson Airplane. All while the band remain original and believable, with excellent use of era-true mellotron and organ to truly evoke a time, while complimenting the lyrics they curl around.
This feels like a forgotten record. It has that magic to it. This isn’t homage, Fur Coat And The Peace Boat feels like a direct product of the sixties. There is an authenticity within it, whether that’s the band’s era-love seeping through blatantly, or the production quality itself. It’s vinyl-rich and tape-crackly, with the timeless beauty found in those old songs, only ever courtesy of true, masterful musical frisson. All up, it’s an aching, sigh-making release, with all the butterflies and violet toned memories of a first crush. They’ll have you falling in love.
Fur Coat and the Peace Boat will earn some ardent fans to build on those they already have, bringing Woodstock to town. That’s right, Dorothy, you’re not in Sydney anymore.