Saskwatch Northside/Remote Control
DESPITE its title, Nose Dive is almost all upside and upbeat. The second studio album from this Melbourne nine-piece band, which started as a busking outfit outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station and turned into a must-see fixture at the city’s late night Cherry Bar, is a showcase of timeless pop and soul. Saskwatch is not breaking new musical ground but the band’s strength is its sharp, sassy sound and tight arrangements on a bunch of original songs that benefit from work with producer Lachlan ”Magoo” Goold of Regurgitator and Gerling fame at his Applewood Lane studio near Brisbane. Saskwatch considers itself a collective, and no doubt it is. Think the Commitments, but without Andrew Strong at the microphone and hopefully without that movie band’s bickering. What makes Saskwatch hang together so well is the beauty, grace, power, and at times, fragility, of Nkechi Anele’s vocals, matched with a lovely brass section led by trumpeter-songwriter Liam McGorry and deft, subtle guitar playing by Rob Muinos. From the power of track one, Give Me a Reason, Anele’s voice lets you know this is going to be an impressive excursion. On Born to Break Your Heart, a torch song that is the source of the album’s title, according to McGorry, she switches between strong and vulnerable, accompanied by breezy, guitar chords that remind of David Bowie’s Young Americans phase. Keep Me in Mind is sheer vocal joy, guitar riffs and brassy brass. Call Your Name and Tomorrow’s Promises are stripped back and sweet. A Love Divine is both raw and raunchy. Even the album’s surreal cover art is a standout.