A ride with Carmody

Issue 

Bloodlines

Kev Carmody

Festival Records

Reviewed by Ignatius Kim

The journey that Kev Carmody embarked on early this year with the EP Streetbeat is continued with his third album, Bloodlines.

Originally a journey through Queensland's Logan City, this resumption explores a wider (more uncertain?) road. Carmody writes in the cover notes: "The whole gamut of relationships, that we as individuals form throughout our existence. The theme of relationships has formed the basis of this album".

From beginning to end, the terrain is unpredictable.

Gospelesque celebrations of struggle ("Freedom") soar into soothing, spoken-word odes to the beauty of nature ("Messenger") before descending to the aimless depths of Logan City street life ("Darkside"). Warm mandolins temper cutting guitars, strings ride the didgeridoo, industrial samples reply to lush vocal harmonies: the journey is a rich one.

It's difficult not to share his anger in "Asbestosis", a song about a rural Koori community that is widely affected by the disease after many of its members worked in asbestos mines.

"From Little Things Big Things Grow" documents the birth of the land rights movement in 1966 when Vincent Lingiarri led a walkoff of Gurindji drovers and reclaimed Wattie Creek. It is an inspiring ballad whose title neatly sums up how justice can be won by ordinary people. It was co-written by Paul Kelly for the episode of the SBS television documentary Bloodbrothers which looked at Carmody and his music.

It should also be noted that proceeds from the single "Freedom" are going to Community Aid Abroad.

Besides Paul Kelly, Carmody is joined on this journey by Tiddas, Arramaieda, and members of Mixed Relations.

Bloodlines is a journey well worth taking.

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