From David Bridie’s latest album Wake, amidst the hard-hitting, gritty guitar chords of first single Delegate, Bridie chants, “The people who have lost the most are the ones who hate the least.” The song’s political element is unashamedly direct, and rightly so; but like all of Bridie’s music, its power derives from an honest bravery rather than any overt moralising.
Released in June, Bridie’s fourth-studio album has been well received thus far, much to his delight.
“I’ve been bowled over a little bit. You can’t please everyone with these things, nor should you intend to. I’ve been quite humbled,” says Bridie.
Such humility typifies the album, which strives to promote a sense of balance amongst cultures and musical genres. Delicacy is key in achieving this, and Bridie’s approach is movingly holistic.
“The album started in a big old revelling house with a real atmosphere about it, away from distractions. The songs are all written late at night on a piano in a small room, and I’ve just expanded from there.”
His favourite, Chatter, delights in this sensitive expansion by juxtaposing the vacuity of gossip with the serenity afforded by late night walks. As the song glides towards a graceful resolution, melancholic strings reach yearningly higher, desirous of satisfaction, completion, or maybe just acknowledgement.
The procedure is much the same in You’re No Flower, the solitariness of the human condition effected by echoing snares that dissipate into emptiness. This void is at once breached and secured by Bridie’s confident, mature vocals. Xylophone and synth reverberate to draw the song to a close, ensconcing within them the peace found at the centre of all Bridie’s music.
These are the quieter numbers, but louder, punchier ones, such as opener Dr Seuss Is Painting In The Sky or Stoned In Kabul perhaps more obviously lend their weight to the album.
The individuality of each is important to Bridie.
“A record can’t help but express what its writer has experienced. I like the way an album is like a collection of stories that gives you a wider take on what the artist is into. A bit like a football team,” he quips.
Wake is a compilation of tales, experiences and influences recounted openly, expertly, and is testament to the skill of their narrator. The brevity of Bridie’s work is complex yet nonetheless astute, and a quiet listen is more than rewarding. (RM)
Jul 26, The Basement, 7 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay, $25-80, (02) 9251 2797, thebasement.com.au
BY ROBIN MARSHALL