Lost Not Found
Fat Swine Records
Melbourne’s Dan Brodie has been releasing his own versions of cow-punk (You Make Me Wanna Kill), blustery rockabilly twang (Take A Bullet), lonesome, windswept balladry (Tear Us Down) and shit-kicking swagger (Booze to Blame) for a while now. Here he combine all of the separate vestiges of his career to date and focusses them on turning a set of rock and pop classics on their ear with a covers-album project that should please both the fans and newcomers.
Dark and brooding are the two moods most conjured here, with Dan handling most of the instruments himself and many of the songs stripped back to a couple of guitars and a bassline – a bit of piano here and there and some licks from the lap steel on a chugging version of Iggy Pop’s The Passenger.
The devastating mood – and the announcement of a vital interpreter – is announced with the opening cover of Dylan’s Standing In The Doorway – multi-tracked backing vocals bubbling and brewing.
Same deal with Merle Haggard’s Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down which has the slow-churning intensity of Mercy Seat-era Nick Cave.
The Cave comparison continues across the piano/guitar intro to Brodie’s version of Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al, but the double-tracked lead vocal sounds like Dan Kelly covering Elliott Smith – Simon’s lyric that bounces along on an Afro-pop beat in the original sounds threatening in this slowed, dramatic take: “I will be your bodyguard” – and “Where’s my wife and family/What if I die here” is almost spat out in a distorted panic. It’s a stunning reinvention.
In a disc full of highlights I also want to mention Prince’s Take Me With U, as with Call Me Al, the very meaning of the lyric seems to distort and twist in the way that Brodie slows and bends the tune; warping the original intentions but still honouring the (power of the) song.
Lost Not Found is a Sunday hangover for any day of the week, a loner’s gem, a startling set of back-alley takes on established classics; new life breathing in through the bones of these songs, the flesh exposed, the spirit soaked in new bar-room spirits no doubt, but something wonderful has happened here. For it never feels like a cold gimmick, it always feels like another correct way for these songs to live and breathe and feel.