Al Carr “The Right Dereliction”

Independent, 2023

Gritty collection of catchy tunes from Melbourne.

There are a few occasions when listening to a new album when a frustratingly annoying thought comes to mind – who do those vocals sound like? This became my instant thought listening to this great new release from Melbourne-based Carr. His vocals are quite distinctive – not a classic vocal delivery – but definitely distinctive. Then it suddenly became apparent – he sounds like Lloyd Cole on some of the tracks – no bad thing really. And this album is great – a real grower. A mixture of rocking alt-country gems and some laid-back, dreamy tracks. But good tunes are always to the fore.

We open with ‘Sinking Moon’ – a great up-tempo yet moody song which Carr says “…is the song around which the rest of the tracks were built. Words of advice, take it or leave it, forewarning from one friend to another, with a Fender Rhodes providing some sparse melodic accompaniment”. There’s a fantastic video accompanying it about the aftermath of a robbery which is really evocative.

Next we have the bluesy rocker ‘When the Night Was Deep’ with a mean and raunchy guitar riff that really works. Carr’s vocal styles also totally suit this type of song – and it’s an album highlight. ‘Those Diamond Notes’ is a more laid-back number about celebrating one’s favourite music and then it’s the first single – ‘The Rose Of Jericho’ – which has a pulsing rhythm section. It’s a driving song and has some lovely Hammond organ adding to the richness of the sound. ‘Let A Little Light’ is another winner – beginning with an acoustic feel – we then have some wonderful rocking guitar play and a great driving sound surrounding the lyrics, which give a plea for positivity.

Carr has been playing in bands – initially in Sydney – since the late nineties and following a move to Melbourne in 2006 he went solo and has had two previous albums released before this – his strongest yet. It’s a gritty collection with some superb songs and a great album cover. Bravo.

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Lloyd Cole with a dash of Willie Nile and a soupçon of Mike Scott was my view before I read your review Paul. You’re right, it’s a fine album