The self-proclaimed King Of Pop and the newly-crowned King Of The Dudes, Dave Graney inhabits a strange yet strangely alluring world, where The Beatles don’t rate anywhere near Steely Dan and Marcos Valle reigns supreme as the Brazilian Orpheus. The ex-Moodist and Coral Snake charmer has been incredibly prolific throughout his artistic life and remains one of the few songwriters to have maintained a flawless creative streak for over seven years – as 2009’s Knock Yourself Out, 2010’s Supermodified and last year’s re-recorded “greatest hits” Rock & Roll Is Where I Hide attest. Recorded live in the studio with the incorruptible Lurid Yellow Mist (freshly rechristened The mistLY), You’ve Been In My Mind is yet another fantastic addition to the SA-born Melbournian’s catalogue.
Naturally, the songs are superb: ‘Flash In The Pantz’, ‘We Need A Champion’, ‘Cop This, Sweetly”, the weirdly nostalgic ‘Mt Gambier Night’, the aforementioned ‘King Of The Dudes’ and the self-effacing closer ‘I’m Not The Guy I Tried To Be’ are all vintage DG nuggets. As ever, Graney disperses sneering “ooh”s and lascivious “mmm”s between his savage witticisms, all the while playing the jazziest 12-string electric guitar since Roger McGuinn’s ‘Eight Miles High’ Coltrane-isms. The top-notch accompaniment is likewise a familiar delight, with Clare Moore effortlessly switching between rhythm patterns, Stu Thomas – who might just be one of the finest white bass players in this land – maintaining the swing, and Stu Perera taking his left-handed Rickenbacker for a walk in areas Nels Cline has yet to tread.
Never a flash in the pan, Dave Graney again proves he isn’t the kind of an artist who’ll be on your mind after you’ve absorbed his tonne-weighing shtick. Instead, he’ll be in your mind.
Denis Semchenko THE BRAG
You’ve Been in My Mind is the first collection of new songs in three years from Dave Graney, his partner in life and sound Clare Moore, and their recently re-named band, The MistLY (formerly the Lurid Yellow Mist). Not that they’ve been idle though, as that span has seen a whole lot of gigs, the release of Graney’s first book - acclaimed memoir 1001 Australian Nights - as well as a compilation of re-recordings of classic Graney compositions, Rock ‘N’ Roll is Where I Hide.
The lyrical puns still abound but otherwise there’s less novelty on show here than in the past: the Lounge-Lizard-King-of-Pop-Dave-Graney who won ARIAs and charmed the masses in the 1990s, with a theatrical persona like some louche amalgam of Don Lane, Terry Southern and ‘Coney Island Baby’-era Lou Reed, is largely absent. Graney now more comfortably resembles a road-seasoned jazzman, exuding the philosophical gravitas and dark humour of hard-won wisdom. Jazz sensibilities have influenced this new music too, particularly the “blazing left-handed Rickenbacker” lines of lead guitarist Stuart Perera, with structures and chords that shift and twine but not at the expense of melody or focus. According to 1001 Australian Nights, Graney and Moore first met Perera when he was a young student “into jazz players, theory, octaving and Guns N’ Roses”, and the resonances of such remain apparent, fused with the band’s ongoing interests in ’70s West Coast rock and art pop experimentation.
Self-recorded and mixed, with help from engineer Andrew “Idge” Hehir, the performances are mostly live, not overdubbed, reassuringly-immediate and seemingly in thrall to ’70s production values, as if Tony Visconti was at the desk in their Brunswick studio. The piercing sustain of the guitars is thin and trebly, while the choruses of ‘I’m Not the Guy I Try To Be’, ‘Field Record Me’ and ‘Cop This Sweetly’ - great titles, as usual - flow in a wash of harmonies that could have come from Bowie and Osterburg’s own throats in Hansa Studios in 1976; the latter track even ending with desperate yelps like The Idiot’s ‘Funtime’.
While the first half is upbeat and mid-paced, the second drops to a slower, dreamier cadence. Songs like ‘Playing Chicken’, ‘I’m Not the Guy I Try to Be’ and ‘Midnight Cats’ are made for the early hours. The spoken-word ‘Mt Gambier Nights’ is autobiography melded with dry observation, quoting William Blake to an evocative backdrop of staccato guitar reverb.
This is a seductive and comfortably re-playable collection of dependable material, boding well for an extensive national tour this month.
by Aaron Curran - Mess and Noise
The Walter Mitty of Oz rock issues his umpteenth album; his shtick still weighs a ton and rock'n'roll remains his hideout.
Dave Graney still lays his idiosyncratic hipster lingo over post-rock, blues pop and jazz chords aplenty, aided and abetted by drumming partner Clare Moore and long-term comrades, guitarist Stuart Perera and bassist Stu Thomas.
And the erstwhile Australian king of pop still sounds like he's having a ball, whether meowing on Midnight Cats or yelping "come on! owwww!" over the descending riffs of Field Record Me.
Flash in the Pantz lampoons masculinity to a dirty rock groove, while Cop This, Sweetly noodles around and then, right when you're not paying attention, rocks out.
I Don't Want to Know Myself and Mt Gambier Nights recall the hero's Coral Snakes era. Recorded quickly in Melbourne and then mixed by the main man himself, You've Been in My Mind is a wonderfully unpolished affair full of familiar themes for Graney aficionados as well as some unexpected dimensions.
SIMON COLLINS, The West Australian
The Graney has never been beholden to any fashion, bar his own. But as the circles of style turn, there are times he gets some of the respect he deserves. He’s again become the go-to guy when the world needs an opinion or explanation – with a slightly-arched eyebrow – of how the business of show is or isn’t working these days.
His music finds a fit here, too. You’ve Been In My Mind grabs a range of moods and attitudes, for his half-spoken/half-sung words to present the observations and mission statements. Points of reference for the music reach back. There’s ‘60s and ‘70s soul in here, and occasional outbreaks of blues shouting and yelping dating further than that. There’s just enough rough edges among the smoother grooves.
It’s not just the external he’s considering. Flash In The Pantz is the nature of the old-style man blustering and questioning at once. The urgent strut of that, and indeed most all the album, comes from the necessary female element of Clare Moore’s drumming. She is the heart and balancing conscience of it. But go to the rattling rush of the opening Blues Negative, and she’s obviously got muscle as well.
In We Need A Champion Graney informs at one point, over a dirty funk of Stuart Perera’s wah-wah guitar and Stu Thomas’ bubbling bass, seemingly lifted direct from a porn soundtrack – in a good way. Dave’s probably not even putting himself up for the title job, but he realises one is needed. His 30 years experience means Dave Graney has become the man who knows. And knows more than most. Yeah.
Ross Clelland - DRUM MEDIA
The band name may have changed – the Lurid Yellow Mist has evolved into the mistLY – but the song remains the same, as Dave Graney continues to shrug his shoulders at the indifference of the industry.
One song is called We Need a Champion, but Graney and his cohorts are content to go it alone. “If that fails, that fails,” he accepts in the stunning single, Flash in the Pantz.
Graney remains a sonic explorer, boldly going where no other Australian artist dares. Younger artists would kill to have the energy that’s on display here.
- Jeff Jenkin - JB HiFi STACK
You've Been in My Mind Dave Graney and the MistLY (Cockaigne/Fuse) ★★★★
IN HIS recent memoir, 1001 Australian Nights, Dave Graney, post-punk iconoclast, velvet-clad king of pop and sardonic cultural critic, explored his pre-history as a working-class exile from country South Australia. On his latest record, You've Been in My Mind, Graney delves further into semi-biographical territory. There's Graney the existentialist, contemplating identity (I'm Not the Guy I Tried to Be), the critic of the vapid world of popular fame (Flash in the Pantz) and the adult musing on the myopic bravado of youth (Midnight Cats). While the name of Graney's backing band has changed, the elements remain largely the same: Clare Moore's elegant drum fills, Stu Thomas' factory-strength bass, Stuart Perera's wiry Rickenbacker licks, and Graney's collage of croons and James-Brown shrieks. Graney's narrative wanders in and out of focus like a rambling front-bar anecdote. Mojo Nixon said there was no Elvis in Michael J Fox; there's only Dave Graney in Dave Graney. He plays Northcote's Regal Ballroom next Friday, July 27.
PATRICK EMERY - The Age