Busby Marou return to sink more hooks
BUSBY Marou’s latest album is a return to the Queensland duo’s roots in more ways than one
It has been more than three years since Busby Marou’s second album Farewell Fitzroy debuted at No. 5 on the ARIA charts, and in that time much has changed for the folk-pop duo comprising singer-songwriter Thomas Busby and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Marou.
If the previous album bade a fond farewell to their original home town of Rockhampton, through which the mighty Fitzroy River flows, then the name of their new album – Postcards From the Shell House – signifies a return to their roots.
The “Shell House” of the album’s title is a residence on Great Keppel Island – off the coast of Yeppoon, in Central Queensland – where the pair spent many weekends during their formative years.
The Shell House is owned by Margaret Gearin and her partner Robert Zerner, who the pair have known for more than a decade.
Although the band have previously recorded in places as far-flung as Nashville, Marou, who still resides in Rockhampton when the pair are not touring, says a large part of the appeal of writing and recording on Great Keppel was the proximity to friends and family.
“We did go to Melbourne for a couple of weeks to record stuff that needed to be recorded in a studio but there was something about being close to home,” he says.
“Our families live just across the bay there and at the moment family’s probably the key factor of where we’re at in our lives.”
Latest single Best Part of Me, which opens the album, has already been added to radio stations around the country and with its harmonydriven chorus, percussive claps and melodic hooks, it looks well on its way to replicating the success of Days of Gold, which was named Blues and Roots Song of the Year at last year’s APRA (Australian Performing Right Association) Music Awards.
“We’ve always had a natural way of loading the songs full of hooks and to me that’s purely based on Jeremy’s harmonies,” Busby says.
“He’s got that islander kind of vibe and although he’s a gun guitarist I always thought the hooks and the songs were always based on that harmony hook line and knowing where to put it in or pull it out.”
Although it might seem like a long time between releases from the outside, Busby insists he and Marou have “felt ready for a couple of years”.
“We probably wrote most of the songs two years ago,” he says.
“But we’re signed to a record company and there’s a lot of hoops we have to jump through. At the same time, if we didn’t have those delays we probably wouldn’t have an album as good as this because we continued to keep writing better songs as the process went on.”
“It does come easy writing with Jeremy,” Busby adds. “When I’m writing at home on my own, I can’t really make sense of the song yet. I don’t know if it’s a good song until I’m playing with Jeremy and something just clicks.”
Musicians Jeremy Marou and James Busby