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Howzat! Archive - May 9th 2012

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THE GREAT PRETENDERS
Howzat! recently reviewed Buckley Ward's second album, So Pretend (out now through Shock), giving it three-and-a-half stars. If we had our time again, we'd give it an extra half-star; it really is something special. This is an album that gets under your skin with repeated play. The shimmering sounds show that these guys and girl are genuine contenders.

Was it the difficult second album? "Well, we kind of half-arsed the first record," singer Jimmy Allen says. "I think this feels much more like a debut than a sophomore record, not just for us but probably for the listener as well. The only thing the same is the name of the band. I think I even sound different singing. Second albums are generally difficult because there are various expectations. We didn't have that problem." Sounds like Jimmy doesn't dig Buckley Ward's debut, 2009's Something In The Night. "I don't look back favourably on it. It's like looking back on how you handled a situation when you were 16 and cringing. The priority was to make a record, not to make it good. This time around, we were a lot more patient, far better at recording and did a lot more work on the songs. Most of them were pulled apart and put back together at least once. I definitely think we employed a quality-management system."

Into The Darkening Blue, the latest single, sounds great on radio. When did Jimmy realise it was a special song? "Is it a special song?" he ponders. "It's probably my least favourite on the record. I wrote it ages ago on acoustic guitar. I wanted to write a single, so I focused on making it as pop as I could. It took us at least three goes to record. We enjoy playing it live, but I don't have a real connection to it."

So Pretend suggests Buckley Ward is a band filled with ambition, though all members have day jobs. "We have an actor, copywriter, multimedia designer, photographer and physicist. You can guess who's who." One JB store filed the new album under "W", thinking it was a solo artist. Like Diesel - who still has people calling him Johnny - Jimmy often has people refer to him as Buckley, which he doesn't seem to mind. "It was completely unintentional [the name confusion], but I actually like it. When I write something kind of personal, it's like I can tell it through this character, so I have a layer of insulation."

The album - which is being launched at the Toff on 19 May - was recorded at "The Hovel", which is actually Jimmy's house. "It's an old share house in North Carlton, where I've lived for 10 years. It's really cheap, but with good reason. The studio is set up in a sort of halfway lounge room. It's the opposite of flash or pretentious, which makes you feel comfortable being drunk in there. There's a piano and a big old analog desk, lost of scotch and a couple of egg cartons."

As for some of Jimmy's faves: Three favourite Australian songwriters - Glenn Richards, Paul Dempsey and Brendan Welch. Favourite zombie movie - "Can I say The Walking Dead? I know it's a TV show but it's by far my favourite." Favourite Status Quo song? "Ha! Despite having a song on the record of the same name, I actually haven't listened to much Status Quo. Reminds me too much of commercials." So Pretend is definitely going to be on Howzat!'s list of 2012 faves. Look out for Buckley Ward, they're good.


RENOVATION RESCUE
Buckley Ward have also got a gig coming up at Pure Pop - on 27 May. Howzat! doesn't like to leave Richmond, but when we do visit St Kilda, Pure Pop is our favourite location. Don't forget, Pure Pop's benefit gig is this Friday at the Prince. The stellar lineup includes Paul Kelly, Henry Wagons, Ron Peno, Davey Lane, Charles Jenkins, Stonefield and Underground Lovers. Proceeds go to soundproofing the Pure Pop courtyard, which will hopefully shut up the silly protesters.


THE DOWNS TO RISE AGAIN
What next for the redoubtable Ron S. Peno? After issuing his debut solo album and re-forming Died Pretty for Dig It Up!, is another Darling Downs album with Kim Salmon on the agenda?


CHART WATCH
The Voice is having a big influence on the singles chart.

Sitting On Top Of The World DELTA GOODREM (number five)
Shut Up & Kiss Me REECE MASTIN (10)
If Looks Could Kill TIMOMATIC (12)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (14)
Big Jet Plane LAKYN HEPERI (18, debut)
Big Jet Plane ANGUS & JULIA STONE (27)
Kids LAKYN HEPERI (29)
Do It Like That RICKI-LEE (31)
Love The Way You Lie FATAI VEAMATAHAU (32, debut)
Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (35)
Child 360 (40)

Jack Vidgen and Damien Leith have big albums for Mother's Day.

Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (number eight)
Nightflight KATE MILLER-HEIDKE (13)
No Plans COLD CHISEL (15)
Now & Then DAMIEN LEITH (17)
Greatest Hits: 18 Kids KEITH URBAN (19)
Don't Funk With Me ALSTON (21)
Inspire JACK VIDGEN (23, debut)
Falling & Flying 360 (24)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (30)
Vows KIMBRA (36)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
So Pretend BUCKLEY WARD
Speakerphone THE FAUVES
I Understand SOPHIE KOH
Superhuman JUAN ALBAN
Warning Bell BUTTERFLY BOUCHER

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