THE DEAD LEAVES: Cities on the Sea
By John Paul Carroll
A few years back The Dead Leaves were Melbourne-based Kiwi singer Matt Joe Gow’s backing band. With this album they’ve twisted together into another beast, described as (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘a band that speaks effectively to the need of one’s personal transition through darkness’. So not the ideal backing track to your four year old’s birthday party, ‘Cities on the Sea’ nestles rather into a gloomy corner of the indie guitar pop genre, with a clutch of faithful followers that might claim to not only want, but need this music. It’s always nice to have a few guests around for tea, and on this occcasion Emma Louise and the distinct wailings of Gin Wigmore compliment Gow’s morose baritone crooning on respective tracks This Living and Changing, rendering them standouts, by default. The female tones contrasted against Gow’s manly growl is so effective by comparison to the absence thereof, that it might be worth considering as a whole album’s direction in the future. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Joy Division worked in a small office with Nick Cave and the Strokes, with a sympathetic part-time receptionist, you might want to give this a listen.