Augie March return after 5-year hiatus
The Australian legends are back, and Sophie Metcalfe (pictured, below) meets the familiar melancholic sound with a strangely comforting sadness:
The memory of One Crowded Hour topping the 2006 “triple j Hottest One Hundred” is so potent in my mind. I was 16 and had just argued with my mum about wanting to spend Australia Day at a party instead of with my family, pretty much your stock standard dose of teen angst. She finally drove me there in silence and that was that. Two hours later they announced number one on the shitty beach radio and I had forgotten all of my sadness and my worry. That’s how happiness was measured in those days. By three-month summer holidays, msn flirting and your favourite band topping the Hottest 100.
Augie March were never far away to help career my absurd and insatiable teenage emotions and place them in a nicely wrapped box. They were there when I fell in love for the first time and they were there when I fell out of it. But my obsession with this band goes beyond just a penchant for Glen Richards’ poetry, his melancholic melodies and musical oddities. It stems from the fact that all four of their studio albums were so deeply threaded in my ‘coming of age’ years.
You realize how important these years are to your life because everything is so saturated at that age and the memories that hang on are as well. The things you eat, music you listen to and people you surround yourself with will all be, in some capacity, sentimental things to you. This is why Christmas Eve in my hometown is so strangely wonderful. You sit in the tired local tavern having a beer with an old schoolyard pal that you’re pretty certain you never got along with… But both of you are bound by this unspoken rule that those years – however strange they were – were some of the best.
So much so that I had an almost spiritual reaction when I heard this new song from the Augie’s. When I came home from work today, tired and lifeless, I collapsed on my bed and opened the laptop to greet the internet. I am living on the other side of the world from my hometown and my life resembles nothing of what it did then. I live in a new country, surround myself with new smells, food and landscapes and have fallen into a new love.
Even so, the track opens and I am overwhelmed with the smell of salt. I am sixteen and dancing in the sand, there is a sun shower and the steam is rising off the youthful bodies. I feel a tremendous state of familiar melancholy and realize, after all this time this music still makes me feel like a vulnerable teen at the brink of her emotional awareness.
The music you listen to and the things you surround yourself with in your coming-of-age years will always be locked away in an untouchable fortress.
I’m not even going to review this song for you because it’s impossible for me to be objective for something I am so subjective about. But if you want my opinion: It’s perfect.
Damnit Glen, you’ve still got me.
Words by Sophie Metcalfe. After The Crack Up’ is available on iTunes from June 24.