Amateur Philosophy

by Larmo Cusack

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Review by Half A Cow:

I haven't had some good old punkrock in a while and was very impressed with this ten-track collection by Larmo Cusack. Everything is written and recorded by one-man-band Larmo (on an Tascam 688 eight track) and if you close your eyes (therefore not reading the liner notes) you'd swear it was a tough band blasting out mini-anthems for disillusioned, and, as we discover later, lovesick folks everywhere.

Apart from the last track, all the songs are up-tempo punk. Now what I am calling punk here is a cross between 60s garage punk (like the Seeds and the Sonics) and mid-80s nuggets like the Angry Samoans. As Glenn Frey said to Jackson Browne in the mid-70s "punk is an attitude". Of all people! The vocals are quite low in the mix, which suits the overall feel of the album, but is a bit of a shame as it sounds like the lyrics are worth hearing. Did I hear Buck's Fizz mentioned in 'If I Went Sailing'? Luckily there is a lyric sheet included so I can confirm that he really does sing: "there'd be no yacht rock/ just sea shanties and Buck's Fizz".

'Give To You' starts out as a bonafide pop song with acoustic guitar and tight little drums but then the fuzzed-out guitar comes blasting in while Larmo opens his heart: "Faith and love is what I try to give to you/faith and love from an honourable man". Sounds cheesy, right? Maybe on paper, but in the song it works a treat.

There's even a song 'Pretty Fruity' - that could possibly pass as an instrumental, as the incredibly-low-in-the-mix-vocals finally come in at the 1:22 point. The last song 'Gush' is the drumless wonder and is the perfect way to end the album. It has a great melody and wonderful lyrics: "Killing time with you/it's so divine/stack of 45s/and a bottle of wine".

All we know about Larmo Cusack is he plays drums in Brisbane bands the Dangermen and the Money, and also runs garage rock label Swashbuckling Hobo Records. Busy man. And we're glad he took the time out to record some of his own songs. Cool stuff. – ND


released January 30, 2008


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