Golden Repair (Pieater)
If Tom Iansek sleeps it must be only to dream of some other delicious piece of gently seductive music for whichever band he went to bed thinking of. And since not one of those bands has done anything less than stellar work, they’d be very sweet dreams indeed.
The force behind not just #1 Dads (his solo project essentially) but Big Scary (his partnership with Joanna Syme, which won the Australian Music Prize in 2015) and No Mono (a partnership this time with Tom Snowdon with two albums last year), Iansek has interests in various shades of electronic/atmospheric/art-house/pop/rock music.
What they have in common is a sense of delicacy - which isn’t another way of saying soft songs, especially when Big Scary could muster muscular guitars and ominous tom toms, and No Mono often made sharp angles, and both could burst with emotion.
The delicacy is in the way voices and instruments can feel quite febrile, strung together with wires that can feel taut and liable to snap, or gentle enough to be blow away with a strong puff of wind, especially when Iansek sings, but really, on Golden Repair (the third #1 Dads album in nine years) most of the time.
In some ways this album is a bit of a cross-patch of Iansek’s territory. Another Day is a lo-fi, hairy indie boy holed up at home waiting for the lockdown to pass: pretty tune and a pale but not wan setting, leaning-into-you singing and whistling, Run feels like that idea run through an Augie March filter, and Twice A Fool is a slightly sonically-enhanced version of those, letting a country tone slide into the mix.
Freedom Fighter fills out the space more, hinting at subdued R&B balladeers and Fiona Apple, in a similar way to Orion, which lets a hand drum and an acoustic guitar punctuate the rhythm suggested in the melody.
On the other side of Iansek, 4bit is the kind of haunted air, piano atmospheric that No Mono specialised in, like an unplugged electronic track with his voice gliding up into Anohni-style tremulousness, while Elizabeth and Patience make for less haunted, more contemplative spins on the theme, with Elizabeth in particular quite beautiful.
With its low-key sense of positivity and connection, right now this close-quarters album is exactly what’s needed for those nights when you want something to compensate for the way social distancing has cut off others from you. As Iansek sings in Another Day, “Find a little pep you can take another step/Lay down, just don’t lay down/Let this be a little song for you”.
Maybe think of it as a friend with clean hands and an open heart you can bring very near.