There is something strange about bumping into an old friend and the way in which the years between seem to disappear. I had a similar experience listening to Driveway Heart Attack by The Fauves. After recently seeing them live to celebrate Future Spa and Lazy Highway, I returned to Driveway Heart Attack interested to where their sound had evolved and changed.
I vaguely remember listening to Driveway Heart Attack when it was released in 2019, however it did not stand out at the time, so I moved on. As one review I found touched on, it is one of those albums that takes its time to sink in, but when it does it hooks you.
This album will take many listens before making a decision to love it so much. It really took time to grow on me.
I recently spent some time with The Go-Betweens and could not help but hear how The Fauves continued the legacy. Not only do they continue the legacy of two alternating singers, but this is often built on top of infectious harmonies. With this said, even when I think that the chorused guitar has me thinking of The Cure or the acoustic pop reminds me of Josh Pyke, the album always sounds like The Fauves.
In Year 11, my school did something common for so many schools in the area, a trip to Central Australia. As a part of this trip, we were allowed to take $30 of spending money. For some, this meant buying opals in Cooper Pedy or souvenirs along the way. For me, it meant buying The Fauves Lazy Highway. Let loose on Alice Springs for an afternoon, I ended up in a music store, where I found the album with a bonus disc. I have always been a sucker for bonus discs and unique packaging, like digipaks. So there went most of my money.
I recently read Bobby Gillespie’s memoir Tenement Kid. In it he talks about losing his ‘rock and roll virginity’ to Thin Lizzy:
I lost my rock and roll virginity to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy that night. I was filled with the Holy Spirit of Rock and Roll, never to be the same again.
Source: Tenement Kid by Bobby Gillespie
I am not sure I would have described it in the same way as Gillespie, but something changed for me when I saw The Fauves at an under-age gig at EV’s in Croydon in 1997. Although I had been to a few random community concerts, this was my first concert of loud rock music with a proper most pit. Although I did not come away with a chipped tooth from crowd surfing, like my friend, I was definitely left changed for the better.
I think that Lazy Highway then met me at the right time. Not only was it the ‘next album’ after discovering the band, but it shone a strange light on the world that I was living in. As an album, it carried a strange balance between the Doctor’s sentimentality and Coxy’s quirky cynicism. As Dan Condon summarises:
They were able to put a spin on Australian life at the time in a way that was in no way cringe, but never really glorified things too much either.
Along with Thousand Yard Stare, these two albums have really stayed with me over time. Although I seem to have drifted away after that.
I wanted to go to their performance of Lazy Highways at the Workers Club, but sadly had COVID. I was therefore happy to see them follow up with a second performance at the Corner Hotel. Even better, this time including both Future Spa and Lazy Highway, as well as being supported by Dave McCormick playing a solo set deep cuts, classics and a cover of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space.
It was a great concert as they churned through Lazy Highway and Future Spa.
Something that I enjoyed was how human it all felt. There was endless banter about how many records they did not sell, how they did not visit Teddy in hospital while making Lazy Highways and how the Doctor still needs the dots on the guitar neck when playing the chords. My only disappointment was that I felt that the keyboards performed by Phil Natt got lost in the mix.
Afterwards, I was left thinking about the trend to play anniversary gigs and the expectations this can place on the artist. For example, I wondered if Cox often played around with the melodies to keep the songs fresh. However, watching some older videos online, it would seem that this has always been the case. This left thinking about the expectation to play what the punters want versus the desire to play newer tracks. In the presser, it states:
We need reasons to put on shows.
You need reasons to come to them.