A Stone’s Throw From Happiness
If you were wondering where ‘A Stone’s Throw From Happiness’ and it’s contents came from… read on!
* Books about Music
I read too many books about music. My favourite book about NZ music is
Matthew Bannister’s “Positively George Street”. My favourite book about
Australian music (or at least by an Australian) is Robert Forester’s
“The Ten Rules of Rock and Roll”. My favourite book about Kylie Minogue
is Paul Morley’s “Words and Music: A History of Pop in the Shape of a City”.
My favourite book about silence is John Cage’s “Silence”.
The web tells me the famous quote is not by Elvis Costello.
In my defence, I’ve seen pictures in books about architecture of
students at the original Bauhaus dancing about architecture.
* Painting by Numbers
An old song about an old friend, falling in love for the first time.
For normal people this seems to happen at about 12, for people
like me, nearer to 20. Every happy couple is happy in the same
way – just because we think we’ve seen all the moves in the game
doesn’t mean we know what it feels like to play.
* Precious Thing
A true story, and a sad one.
I like to think the chorus is more general than the verse.
* Unrequited Love
One of the first songs I ever wrote, and I’m still very proud of it.
Apparently people have requested it for weddings and funerals
although not in a version played by me. We’ve all had unrequited
* The Well of the Saints
There are many Wells of the Saints, or Holy Wells,
around Britain & Ireland (including one in Holywell).
I like the idea although I haven’t visited many.
I try to record batches of demos and Matt picked this one
for the Doubtfuls.
About The Pop Album
What can we say? Years of apprehension is now over, moments of hard slog have been captured and the results, well, they will speak (sing) for themselves. Tell us what you think…
The playlist is as follows:
- The Pop Album (Matt/James) – in the age of sound bites, this is simply that. Somewhat self-deprecating, but correspondingly positive in the same breath. Dont read too much into it, just let it wash over you. (hope you didnt have to pay 1.99 for this track, we dont really subscribe to every song being 4 min +, call us and we refund you a dollar, or maybe two)
- Saturday Night (James) – what can we say, inspired by The Bats on a misconceived idea that Kay had a new guitar – apparently it was borrowed. But, as blogs didnt exist at the time, James was not to know this… A real favourite for all ages, especially with those around 5 who are learning to count and take themselves seriously
- Lightly (James) – a song about being human and feeling it
- Here Right Now (Matt) – no, this is not in answer to the rugby world cup song, it was written long before that one’s rebirth. ‘If you can hold onto hope for one more day, what would you give up to convince it to stay, such a small word to hang so much upon, it can make you bigger than you’ve ever been before, it can make you strong!’
- She Swoons (Matt) – this was supposed to be a positive song, but it didnt quite come out right. It is about finding, separating and believing. Very personal, though that might not be obvious. I hope the conclusion is that we all can hold onto love…
- Arctic Ocean (James) – a little bit cryptic but not for want of adventure. It is a canvas upon which we can place our conceptions and our preconceptions
- I’m Running (Matt) – down your street
- Sleep (Matt) – a traditional middle album song. A little dark, it questions what we do with our waking hours. I like the first line especially – ‘Sleep becomes you, sleep becalms me, I’ve had my eyes closed for so long’. Sleep becomes you is supposed to mean that you look good asleep and it suits you. It wasnt till after this was written that I heard the quote that goes something like – “evil will prevail (simply) when good men do nothing”
- Red Sky (James) – we like playing this one live. It has some simple guitaring, and gets a bit noisy, but goes off very nicely thank you very much
- Colonel (James) – Not sure Elvis has anything to do with this
- Where the Wind Blows (Richard) – the heartland song of The Doubtful Sounds. A good dose of pop and harmony with an edge and a catchy chorus. Seldom will you here Wellington promoted so passionately – ‘home is where the heart is, and my heart is where the wind blows’. This is the only song written and sung by Richard on the album, but is up there as one of the best
*Fifty Million Elvis Fans Cant Be Wrong (James) – Elvis definitely had something to do with this one. A tribute no less, done in slightly awkward The Doubtful Sounds style, it comes together very nicely with some of our best harmonies. Fifty million Elvis fans cant be wrong
- *A Good Keen Kiwi (James/Matt) – one of our most satisfying efforts, a true coming together of musicianship. Neither of us can really remember how it came about, it just came out. And to be honest, we cant quite remember the chords we played, as we were experimenting with various structures and never wrote it down. It is a good yarn, though I dont think we really like the title, but it just simply fits the song. Somewhat tragic, restless, always moving on, but hopeful that there are good things out there
- *No 1 Line (James/Matt) – a musical journey and a ‘going out’ song
* denote Bonus Track
This is the Pop side of The Doubtful Sounds, hope you can take something from it.
Matt and James
About The Doubtful Sounds
Born from the ashes of a fine tradition of New Zealand guitar music, The Doubtful Sounds have risen to bring pop music back to the masses.
Long in the making, The Pop Album is their debut album and sets them clearly on their course. Surely no one can resist the toe-tapping Saturday Night or Lightly to raise the soul, or the grow-on-you-till-you-believe-in-hope song of dark times – Here Right Now.
Matt and James carry a strong understanding of their Flying Nun laden history with them on their journey, yet they don’t let that weigh them down. Instead it’s simply a building block to which they add a dynamic depth that might be more associated with The Lucksmiths (Australia), Math and Physics Club (USA), Frightened Rabbit or Broken Records (both of Scotland).
Perhaps it’s in the name, if you are seeking long searching guitar landscapes, stop reading now. The Doubtful Sounds are true to their guitar pop roots, with good melodies, strong leading harmonies and an ever present rhythm that proves to be the foundation of the band. Sure, they attempt a little bit of shoe-gazing, but this is only to bring greater breadth to their repertoire with well crafted chord changes and some unexpecteted twists.
In preparation for The Pop Album, James (based in Wellington, New Zealand) brought songs steeped in Mutton Bird-esque storytelling (Colonel, Arctic Ocean) while Matt (based in Auckland, New Zealand) lends songs reflecting feelings of love, loss and hope (She Swoons, I’m Running, Sleep). When they collaborate, the best in both comes out – Red Sky, Good Keen Kiwi and No 1 Line (more a poetic tapestry than a song).
Though they clearly don’t take themselves too seriously, their music is something else.
Pebbler Records UK said : Names like The Clean, The Bats or Tall Dwarfs still have a very good reputation today. the Doubtful Sounds are from Auckland/NZ and play their jingle-jangle sound which reminds me on the good old Flying Nun days. This new Edition 59 release is pure Independent Pop.
Vollwert-Records Berlin said : A wonderful 6-track EP by The Doubtful Sounds from New Zealand which reminds us on the good times with Flying Nun Records in the 80s.
Graham Reid said : A two-piece of Matt Cawte and James Noble with assistance from friends, The Doubtful Sounds barely nudge the envelope but rather locate themselves firmly within a tradition of Kiwi pop-rock which should make you smile on songs like the increasingly urgent Bats-like Here Right Now and the languidly lightly-delic Red Sky