Every one’s a winner in perfect match
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.