25 September 2023

Bark Overtures

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Jim Moginie and The Family Dog, The Orchard/Sony Entertainment Australia 2018.

Jim Moginie founded The Family Dog back in 2006 to promote his first solo album Alas Folkloric.

This November and December, The Family Dog is hitting the road showcasing their new album Bark Overtures which was recorded live at Jim’s Oceanic Studios in the first half of this year.

The Family Dog is comprised of guitarist Kent Steedman and drummer Paul Loughhead from Northern beaches legends The Celibate Rifles, multi-instrumentalist Tim Kevin from La Huva, Exiles and Youth Group and Jim Moginie on guitar and keyboards.

This wonderfully talented lineup produces music that traverses from trippy psychedelia through to blitzkrieg rock and all ports in between with incredible ease.

Jim’s 25-year contribution to Midnight Oil is well known but what is less well known is the output of his many additional projects that range from Irish bands, Shameless Seamus and The Tullamore Dews, and The Tinkers, the avant-garde ensembles The Electric Guitar Orchestra and The Colour Wheel, and Jim’s many guest appearances with The Australian Chamber Orchestra.

But perhaps best known of these side projects is his work with The Break, a surf/space/rock band that includes members of Midnight Oil, The Violent Femmes and Hunters And Collectors in its lineup.

All this goes to show that Jim is amazingly eclectic in his musical tastes and this broad palette approach is evident in this delightful album.

Each track is beautifully performed and contains great energy. It is all the more impressive given the fact that it was recorded live.

Some songs are mesmerising in their apparent simplicity, such as the word-thrifty, I’m Happy, which is almost entirely comprised of the lyrics “I’m really happy, I thought I was happy, but I’m not.”

The second track on the disc, In The End, is a piece of pure 60s psychedelia while Samadhi Dog is a lovely airy and spacious ambient soundscape that eventually resolves into a great rock instrumental track.

There’s a fantastic 12 bar boogie, Rock, that could easily be a long lost Status Quo cut.

This is a band with serious credentials and intoxicating licks.

Try and get to one of their gigs, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

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