Ev­ery one’s a win­ner in per­fect match

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

KASEY Cham­bers ad­mits her life isn’t as in­ter­est­ing as it used to be, which is why she had to look for a bet­ter source of in­spi­ra­tion for her first song­writ­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with hubby Shane Ni­chol­son. On this ev­i­dence, she should ditch the per­sonal po­ems per­ma­nently and mine what­ever rich seam pro­vided the 14 gems on Rat­tlin’ Bones . That’s not to say Not Pretty Enough didn’t have clout or that The Cap­tain lacked sub­stance, but Cham­bers’s pre­vi­ous album, Car­ni­val , boasted a thin layer of con­tent­ment, a nat­u­ral en­emy of creative en­ergy. Here the en­ergy is over­flow­ing, not in a punky kind of way but in the spirit of the play­ing, the em­pa­thy be­tween the two song­writ­ers and in the fresh­ness and sim­plic­ity of approach. They were clearly fired up to do this album as soon as Cham­bers’s brother, Nash, who pro­duced it at Jimmy Barnes’s Syd­ney stu­dio, sug­gested it. There’s an in­jec­tion of new blood, too, in the ac­com­pa­ni­ment of bassist James Gil­lard and banjo player Mark Collins, along­side the ever present and re­li­able Bill Cham­bers. Rat­tlin’ Bones is the best album of Cham­bers’s or Ni­chol­son’s ca­reer and a roots album of global sig­nif­i­cance. Of the 14 songs, nine are co- writ­ten, with Cham­bers con­tribut­ing three solo and Ni­chol­son two. Ev­ery song is ad­dic­tive, but just to il­lus­trate the breadth of ma­te­rial there’s chill­ing melan­choly in No One Hurts Up Here and One More Year , while The Devil’s Inside My Head and The House That Never Was are in­fused with a blue­grass spirit that’s off the dial. What’s most strik­ing and com­pelling, how­ever, is the blend of the two singers’ voices. If you thought Robert Plant and Alison Krauss were well matched on last year’s Rais­ing Sand album, mul­ti­ply that un­der­stand­ing and sense of har­mony sev­eral fold and you’ll get an idea of the riches on dis­play here. Sub­lime.

Iain Shed­den

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