Roughly a year ago I saw Iron & Wine play the Golden Plains festival in the bush outside Meredith, Victoria. I spent a fair amount of time before their set trying to convince a certain Rose Quartz contributor they weren’t “indie Jack Johnson”, and then devoured my own hat as they played a set of slick, unremarkable MOR snooze-rock. And, you know, it kind of killed folk rock for me. Iron & Wine weren’t the last of the nu-folk revolution to bomb out - Joanna had already gotten weirder, more idiosyncratic and arcane, apparently turning into the human equivalent of her instrument, but Devendra hadn’t yet shown the world he was the self-important fuck we all expected. Anyway, I’m obviously making this way more melodramatic than it needs to be. My point is that by this stage I was through with expectations of folk rock. The early records were pretty, it didn’t work out. Whatever. That’s why The Daredevil Christopher Wright are such a revelation. It’s folk rock, all right, but not like we’re used to. It’s stranger, more musically ambitious, more EPIC (and I don’t mean that in the over-long, grandiose Watchmen sense). There’s highs and crashing lows, falsetto and handclaps, fucking polyrhythms. Constant surprises: references to the pastoral pop that’s going crazy right now as well as vintage pop and 70s guitar heroism. And really, really good songwriting that, y’know, actually goes somewhere.
Other things you should know: the record, In Deference to a Broken Back, was recorded by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and will be released in May by Amble Down Records.
[The Daredevil Christopher Wright MySpace]