Act of Free Choice (EMI)
The Big Chill
Moody grooves and campfire yarns from an Australian original.
Whether fronting Not Drowning, Waving and My Friend the Chocolate
Cake, or banging out soundtracks, David Bridie's always been an explorer,
opting for the musical road less travelled. So much so that on this,
his first proper solo album, Bridie has morphed into an impossibly
cool Harry Butler, as he merges slithery grooves with tall tales from
Australia's most remote points. The evocative opener, "The Koran,
the Ghan and A Yarn", is set in Marree, a flyspeck 100 miles
from nowhere. "Kerosene" wanders even further, "out
west of Alice Springs", while "Last Great Magician"
tells the story of an elder's death in the Trobriand Islands. Bridie's
connectedness with Australia's mystical heart is commendable, no question,
yet Act of Free Choice is more than a geography lesson. Produced
by Ian Caple, the album bristles with the type of moody blue textures
he brought to long-players from Tricky and Tindersticks, falling just
the right side of mellow. Frequently dark, often downright spooky
- and top-heavy with weird FX, cryptic noises and a haunting sense
of space - Act of Free Choice is an album to get lost in.
**** Jeff Apter
Rolling Stone Review