Songs For Lord Tortoise
By: Eric G.
If you say the title of this Huon record really fast it sounds like Songs The Lord Taught Us, which is a classic Cramps’ album from 1980, but while Huon may be Cramps fans there is hardly any trace of it in these loose, warbled pop songs. Huon features Dave Nichols, formerly of the Australian indiepop group the Cannanes. The name may be different but both bands share the same DIY aesthetic, which reveals itself in the artfully lo-fi production and amateurish musicianship. Nineteen songs is a lot to ask any listener, but Huon possesses a certain charm in its jangly pop formula. The vocals are heavy-lidded but sometimes hummable. The boy/girl trade-off works fairly well in this batch of post-Velvet Underground tunes.
Huon incorporates samples and tape loops in its indie rock mix. Keyboards surface every now and again, giving Huon a ghostly sixties garage sound. The guitars tend to linger, reverb-drenched, in the background while driving bass lines lead the songs to their subtle climaxes. You’d be hard-pressed to guess when this album was recorded- Huon sounds oblivious to the past decade of music, but that’s the bulk of its appeal. The band gets experimental, occasionally, as on “Crusty”, wherein an accordion sloppily trills in the background while a traditional Indian beat stubbornly plods away. The bulk of the album, however, revolves around simple songwriting and low-key vocals. Songs For Lord Tortoise is far from groundbreaking, but it pays humble homage to its many influences and offers an enjoyable listen in return.