by Andrew Murfett
Corner Hotel, October 29th
Let’s call it a comeback. Judging by the response from Saturday night’s sold out crowd, the Sydney pop act the Whitlams have been keenly missed.
Originally intended to be a launch for a new album, the weekend’s two-night stand served more as a reintroduction to the band’s charms.
The proposed album, recorded this year at Richmond’s Sing Sing Studios, has now grown into a double album, Little Cloud and the Black Ice of Manhattan, which is earmarked for release in February next year.
After opening with three crowd-pleasing staples including You Sound Like Louis Burdett, the band deemed the crowd suitably warmed up enough for the first block of new material.
At first hearing, several of the new tracks had an immediate impact, particularly the subtle White Horses. The producer of Little Cloud, J. Walker of Machine Translations, was even on hand to perform the songs. The Whitlams have forged a spirited live following over the past decade. Both the bank of material they are able to draw on and the ardent nature of their fns are testament to this.
Indeed, tracks from their breakthrough album Eternal Nightcap such as Laugh in Their Faces and Life’s A Beach were embraced like old friends by the audience.
While the Whitlams were once almost a solo vehicle for front-man Tim Freedman, the relaxed cohesiveness of the band’s current cofiguration means they feel like a collaborative group.
Former Badloves guitarist Jak Housden, whose solo performance was also first act on the bill on Saturday, has been a key addition to the Whitlams line-up, while drummer Terepai Richmond and bassist Warwick Hornby are also settled.
An intimate version of Buy Now Pay Later, carrying a fervent level of audience participation, was particularly stirring on Saturday, and after two hours (and two encores) the band aptly concluded with the first track from the first Whitlams album (1993’sIntroducing), The Ballad of Lester Walker. Welcome back.