Amarillo – Eyes Still Fixed

Read our review of Eyes Still Fixed by duo Amarillo

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“I was dying for a little while my darling, if you could walk a mile in these broken shoes”

Amarillo was formed in 2014, as a vehicle for the songwriting team of Jac Tonks and Nick O’Mara.  O’Mara is a founding member and songwriter in alt country favourites Raised By Eagles and a renowned local guitarist who has worked with Chris Altmann, Mick Thomas and Dan Parsons.  Tonks is a songwriter, vocalist and guitarist.

I saw them do a small set at an inner Melbourne pub at the end of last year and was taken by their individualistic sound.  Amarillo – Tonks and O’Mara, along with Trent Mackenzie on bass and Alex Rogowski on drums, will be releasing Eyes Still Fixed on 1 October 2016.

amarillo_cover_artEyes Still Fixed is a quietly powerful and significant collection.  The instrumentation is kept to a minimum to evoke a vast landscape.  It was written mostly on the road, in motel rooms across the top end of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and in trains across Europe.  Space is therefore a major character on the album, as if the environment in which the songs were conceived insists on having a presence.

Eyes Still Fixed touches on lyrical themes of friendship and love, isolation and distance, family and the irreversible loss of home.  ‘All I Can See’ strikes a nice opening chord, with Nick’s acoustic picking a feature.  ‘Lemonade’ finds Tonks in ethereal voice, a potent mix with the throbbing tremolo electric guitar and Rogowski’s sympathetic and striking percussion. ‘Firefly’ is a profound tale about hiding out, and letting go, with ambitious vocals.  The title track is a gem, wordless, essentially an instrumental, and heavily atmospheric.  My favourite is the closer – ‘Boating’ – about being on either sides of the tracks – “counting blessings trapped inside a cage” with the echoes of maestro composer Ennio Morricone.  It is a terrific, wistful conclusion, in a traditional folk vein, with a shimmering guitar synchronous with the pleading vocals.

Recorded with Nick’s highly-regarded producer/guitarist cousin, Shane O’Mara at his Yikesville studio, and produced by Shane and the band, the album is a family affair.  With layered acoustic and electric guitars on some tracks, and sparser instrumentation on others, the album sound steers towards an indie-folk feel, like John and Beverley Martyn or even early Fairport Convention.

Eyes Still Fixed is available to purchase on iTunes, and through Gaga Digi at (digi.gaga.com.au/amarillo/) & Bandcamp (amarillomusic.bandcamp.com/) and releases from October 1 2016.

Amarillo will perform preview shows at the Newtown Social Club in Sydney on Wednesday 21 September and in Maitland at Marmook & Poom Poom’s Cafe & Bar on Friday 23 September before celebrating the release of the album with the full band in Melbourne on Saturday 8th October at the Bella Union.

The band will head back up the East Coast to play The Bearded Lady in Brisbane on Sunday 16 Oct, with more shows to be announced

Check out the official music video for ALL I CAN SEE below.

 

Read our review of Eyes Still Fixed by duo Amarillo

Read our review of Eyes Still Fixed by duo Amarillo

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Author: Rob Dickens

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