Melbourne alt-country act evoke Mazzy Star and The Delines on their impressive debut – melancholy and dreamy nocturnal ballads.
As well as being the name of a hotel chain, Best Western is the moniker for a new alt-country project by Australian songwriter Zack Buchanan (The Outdoor Type) that sees him collaborating with fellow Melbourne musicians Kieran Ebert, Harry Cook and Georgia Knight.
This debut, four-track, self-titled EP follows on from the release of the group’s first single, ‘Home’, in August last year. That song kicks off the record in style – a sublime and atmospheric male/ female duet with great twangy guitar and tinges of electronica. The beautiful, cinematic and slow-burning ballad – “Could you pick me up from my place? She’s out of town for her brother’s birthday – the car’s broken down again” – builds to a psychedelic climax. It’s like taking a late-night /early morning ride through the city and then suddenly hitting the first rays of the morning sun. Stunning.
Second song, ‘Peace of Mind’, is similarly gorgeous, but more stripped-down – acoustic guitar and pedal steel – while the third, the mildly festive-themed ‘Lemon Tree’ – “Christmas lights and drunken fights…” conjures up the same kind of mood as its predecessor, adding some subtle orchestration to the proceedings.
Final track, the folky and pastoral ‘Freedom Song’, which starts with an organ drone and the sound of a guitar being plugged in, is set in the last days of autumn, as the low winter sun threatens to creep up and cast shadows on the landscape.
This is an impressive first release, with shades of Mazzy Star when it comes to haunting alt-country, and The Delines for its tales of everyday life in nocturnal suburbia. Let’s hope there’s an album on the way soon.