Release Date: Jul 23, 2013
Record label: Fire Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Despite the Neighbours reference of Craig Dermody’s moniker, his second LP as Scott and Charlene’s Wedding sees him replace his native Melbourne for the bright lights of the Big Apple. The New York in which he has found himself, however, seems a far cry from any Sinatra-style glitz or glamour: it is a world of dead end jobs and alienation with no notion of ‘making it’ to speak of. It’s a scenario known by many who have moved to the big city only to be spat out again.
Craig Dermody’s second album is curiously timeless. With grungy vocals and twanging, almost industrial guitars and often knowingly trivial or tongue-in-cheek subject matter, it could have been written and recorded any time in the last 25 years. True to his moniker, frontman Dermody originally hails from Australia, but now lives in New York – a perfect marrying of laid back attitude and early ’90s NYC guitars.
Craig Dermody of shambling indie rockers Scott & Charlene's Wedding dreamed of living in New York when he was kicking around Melbourne, and his second album, Any Port in a Storm, finds him putting the realities of that into song. Having found a full-band lineup and a home in Brooklyn, Dermody's musical roots show in more ways than one. The album's more polished, embellished production on songs like the equally catchy and gross "Gammy Leg" has a solid feel that enhances the '90s vibe of his earlier work, as well as the East Coast cool of influences such as the Modern Lovers, Television, and the Velvet Underground via Pavement.
Melbourne’s Craig Dermody knows the power of great storytelling. It’s a testament to this skill that ‘Any Port In A Storm’ – effectively a concept album in which nothing remarkable actually happens – works so well. The basic gist is this: songwriting troubadour has a couple of tough years back home, moves on a whim to big bad New York City, realises he knows nobody there, struggles to eke out a living, misses home, writes tunes about it.
Just like catching up with your best mate at the local pub, Aussie band Scott and Charlene’s Wedding relay typical 20-something tales of working dead-end jobs, weathering failed romances and feeling lost in big cities that are equal parts dolefully honest and humorously self-aware. The musical guise of former Melbournian furniture removalist Craig Dermody, SACW deliver indie rock like mother used to make it, with solid slacker vibes. His 2010 debut LP was a modest affair; only 200 copies were initially released, each packaged inside the sleeve of a charity-shop-bought record that Dermody had, with great wit, hand-painted low-brow cartoon scenes on to.
“I ain’t done much changing in what I love since 1993,” boasts Scott and Charlene’s Wedding main-man Craig Dermody on “1993”, and for this Aussie quartet, it doubles as a mission statement on their weird (in a good way!), heart-on-sleeve third full-length, Any Port in a Storm. Trafficking in the goofy, slightly stoopid circa-’93 vintage lo-fi indie that used to get made right before the alt-rock Lollapalooza explosion, SACW get a little too ragged for their own good in places, but Any Port is still a fine ersatz blast from the past that manages to speak to modern-day insecurities. That goofiness manifests itself in the aforementioned “1993”, Dermody’s recounting of the ’93 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks (proving you can write a song about anything).
Born and bred in suburban Australia, Craig Dermody named his band after his mother's favourite television soap because it reminded him of being a kid. The songs he writes are as sentimental as that fact suggests; the surprise is that the dominant sound isn't twee bubblegum pop but a squally shower of impassioned, garrulous guitar over perfunctorily scuzzy bass and drums. His second album deals with his move to New York, and amid the warts-and-all lyrics are at least three references to what rock'n'roll can do for your life: it cushions the blow of a breakup (Spring St), reminds you that it's OK when ambitions aren't at first achieved (Wild Heart), and is there for you when money is tight and everything looks gloomy (Jackie Boy).