Mallee Songs play 2 sets from 8pm FREE
Mallee Songs are making a special appearance as part of the POH Food Truck Week - the Taco Truck will be pulling up in the car park from 5.30pm. Grab some tacos, bring them inside, kick back and enjoy!
Gum Creek and Other Songs, the first Mallee Songs LP, collected Michael Skinner’s early solo dispatches, its fourteen tracks a heady trip from the outskirts of town to somewhere wooded and wild, running in staticky curves through loose pastoral jams, hazy pop and plaintive folk.
Between 2011 and 2013, Skinner wrote the songs that would make up the second record, Natural Times; late in the process, Mallee Songs went from solo endeavour to a band proper.
The result is a limber and many-sided thing, a deeply felt collection of songs that combines sharply observed lyricism with a fluid sound that runs through jangly indie rock, beach pop, rainy day folk, cathartic psych rock and gauzy dream pop. Natural Times is something of a rare bird: steeped equally in classic-era Drag City bards like Bill Callahan and David Berman as it is in the lulling narcosis of shoegaze and dream-pop; it pairs the skewed, hard won truths of the former with the hazy atmospherics of the latter, to great effect.
Though Skinner wrote the songs, the tracks took shape in collaboration with the newly formed Mallee Songs band, with James Allen and Gerard Smith switching between guitar, bass and backup vocals as the songs dictated. Pascal Babare, the band’s drummer, the record’s producer, and an accomplished songwriter in his own right, worked with Skinner to flesh out the songs. He re-imagined parts and alighted on a unifying production aesthetic: a sure-handed mixture of looseness and precision, that makes Natural Times very much an album in the old-fashioned sense.
The upfront focus on songcraft sees Skinner’s voice, a delicate and disarming thing, emerge from the haze of reverb that accompanied it on the early recordings. The record draws much of its power from the space left for his words. Deftly combining the confessional and the abstract, Skinner’s stories – reflections on impermanence, the futility of language, and finding (and losing) connection with people and the natural world – are told with vulnerability, dark wit and poetic grace.