Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses – Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses (Dark Horse/Rhythmethod)

Mr Perkins has been banging away since the ‘80s with Aussie rockers like The Cruel Sea and the Beasts Of Bourbon, but despite critical accolades, I’ve always resisted the urge to seriously investigate.
Then this turned up in my mailbox, and it’s unbelievably good.
Perkins’ dulcet tones are a balm for the ears in a sea of shrieking male divas who all sound like they regret the age of the castrati is over. His low voice really does sound like it’s been marinated in bourbon, and it’s recorded really UP-CLOSE to the microphone.
The sound her is a pleasing mix of acoustic and electric folk with country-rock elements, which perfectly matches Perkins’ bitter, jaundiced songs about women who never understood him and haunt him and cause him to age prematurely. There’s even a song that refers to “the morning after… scene of the disaster”. Yes, it’s true that Perkins wallows in his misery and the vagaries of life on these songs, and that occasionally he can sound a little glib and self-serving. But most of the time, the lyrics are fine examples of well-wrought simplicity, while that well-worn voice orates/narrates his concerns with a great sense of drama and timing.
There’s a delicious mix of acoustic and electric instruments, and it’s captured without any obvious compression, rendering a sound that’s fulsome and grainy where it needs to be. GARY STEEL

Music = 4/5
Sound = 4/5

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