Eternal Nightcap (CD Review)

The Drum Media
by Mark Fraser

n my mind, Tim Freedman is the epitome of the true, modern, observational poet, and key-tinkling genius to boot. Throw in the fact that he’s an all round nice guy, with a wit as sharp as crystal and it’s no wonder that his nonchalant charm has weathered the tragedy that was Stevie Plunder’s untimely death early last year, and come up with the gem that is the first post Stevie album Eternal Nightcap…an absolutely dripping tapestry of sometimes sweet and sometimes sombre tales that spill out so effortlessly and yet so poignantly.

It’s always been the way of The Whitlams, to put often biting lyrics into lightly stirred, not shaken melodic packages and deliver them ever so gracefully, and always quite memorably. Friends from all spectrums lend a hand on this one, and befittingly so, as the common thread throughout is friendship…it’s beauty, its sadness, its wins and losses.

The soft, sad, supper set intro and floating strings of the sombre beauty that is No Aphrodisiac opens its lonely stroll ahead of the even sadder ballad of Buy Now Pay Later, as soft, majestic keys carry naked, biting lyrics over crying strings. Love is Everywhere springs to life in true quirky, Whitlams fashion and runs naked and carefree through the rain, before it turns even quirkier with the squelchy snippets of the jazzarama roller You Sound Like Louis Burdett.

Melbourne has been earmarked as the next single, and its easy to see why as those gorgeous strings filter throughout this feel-good romantic dreamer. Chris Abrahams throws a trademark solo in the midst of the swimming melodies and moods of Where’s The Enemy and Tim Hall takes on head vox to rework Dylan’s Tangled Up in Blue, but it’s Freedman’s conviction and genius that keeps the Nightcap so very special.

Laugh In Their Faces was written for Stevie when things were a little down on him, and is testimony to true friendship. A gorgeously constructed ballad laden with stark, life stung lyrics and the classic line “you’re as free as a 10 year old with a room of your very own.” There’s classic one liners all over the canvas, and a theatre full of drinkable melodies to go with them. Band On Every Corner signs off as it takes the stage at Scruffy Murphy’s and pulls off a wickedly celtic beer shaker. This is an album about love, life, and lament. An emotional moving, musical masterpiece…as if we’d expected anything less!

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