Judging by the name of the band, I assumed I was about to be confronted by some proggy jazz-rock supplemented with fnar-fnar lyrics. I was completely taken aback by how wonderful the first track 'Lonely River' is. Starting with an acoustic guitar and cymbals, a very appealing vocal by group leader Brendan Flynn draws us in with a haunting melody, building up to a chorus that would make Neil Finn proud. If this song had appeared on the newly "reformed" Crowded House album it would have been the worldwide smash hit it lacked. Well arranged and played, 'Lonely River' has been on top of the charts here lately at Chateau de HAC.
The second song 'When You're A Seed' features lead vocals by Vanessa Baker and sounds like a song that Paul Mac would have done with the wonderful Abby Dobson. Beautiful and cruisy. Lo-fi indie rockers Sydney band Tempo de Naughty are not. The quality of the six tracks are all top shelf and would appeal to the mainstream and less-commercial music lovers (think World Party, Ben Folds or Whitlams). With colourful lyrics and a chorus that sticks in your head, 'Slippery Eel' is a great song that sounds like it came straight out of 1973. Apart from the impeccable songwriting and musicianship, it's the vocal stylings of Brendan Flynn that really make this collection memorable.
There are two things I didn't like about this cd. Firstly, the track 'Jimmy's Lament', all about 'having a gun and being on the run', to these ears, just didn't have the appeal and sense of honesty that the rest of the cd has. The other is the band name. Tempo de Naughty just doesn't suit the style and quality of the music. The bio says Tempo de Naughty was a notation that Fats Waller used to make on his sheet music to describe the speed and attitude he wanted musicians to play with - "two thirds rhythm and one third soul". The potential listener of Tempo de Naughty isn't going to know this and will miss out on some mighty fine music when they flick past this cd on the A-Z pop rack. -ND (disclaimer: previously accused of coining 'crap' band names such as The Kombi Nation and Hippy Dribble)