Album of the Week – ‘Time is Golden’ Big Smoke
‘Time is Golden‘ by Big Smoke is Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week. Big Smoke was formed in 2009 by lead singer and songwriter, Adrian Slattery. The band became a beloved staple of the Melbourne music scene, building a reputation as a group of phenomenal players with an exceptional command of classic rock ‘n’ roll song-writing. A band that distinguished itself by its talent, they offer us a gift with this album, an album born in pain and sadness, but an incredible symbol of life nevertheless.
They have faced musical and personal hardship over the past two years. In early 2015, frontman Adrian Slattery was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer. Spurred on by his strength, Big Smoke kept on working and performing around Slattery’s treatments. Sadly, Slattery lost his battle in May this year, never getting to see the release of his band’s debut album Time Is Golden. But they manage to record everything nevertheless, a testament to the band’s determination and vision that lives out Adrian’s wish to create an enduring, major work. But this story isn’t a tragedy, as Adrian himself said “This is not the story of heartbreak or of illness, it is the story of living and all that it entails.”
Following that sentence, we won’t focus on the fact that this album is the work of a dying man and his band driven by an incredible strenght and love of music. Of course that is a fact, but when you listen to that album without knowing its history, you’ll never guess that heartbreakking background. This is a promising first album from a young band, which distinguished itself by his construction and production. The musicians are incredibly good, the voice of Slaterry can’t let you guess that the worse will soon come.. They play an efficient rock, rooted in country but refreshing the genre, alongside notes of blues, with the savour of those golden hours that you can spend on the Australian beaches.
It starts with the summery Something Good and its sweet taste of country, reinvented to give us a modern song with pop accents. That opening is followed by what I’d called the 2 parts Best of You / Time is Golden, the two songs offering us a fantastic piece of music balance between singing and instrumental moments. The 10 tracks album is cut in the middle by When You Dance, a more complex song that develop on its 8 minutes all the talent of the musician, leading us in a complex and beautiful guitar solo followed by a saxophone that remind us of the Rolling Stones in the early 80’s. The album finishes as it started, full of hope and energy with Honey, I, a song that makes you feel like something’s coming after that, that it can’t be the end.
In this album, they manage to rearrange a genre that could easily seems dusty, giving a second breath to country music and making it what might seem impossible sometimes: younger. This album is the one of a promising new band. Refreshing, poetic, airy, they offer an incredible first record. Sadly, following that tragic event, the other members of Big Smoke have decided to end the band. “Adrian was such an integral part of Big Smoke,” said O’Gorman (the bassist) “For us to continue would be impossible – it was the creative outlet for Adrian, he performed under the name for years. It was an important time in our lives. It’ll continue within the releases we’ve managed to put out there, it’ll always be something that connects the four of us, but it’s not going to be something that’ll continue to operate in the traditional sense of a band.” One thing is sure, it’s that Slattery left us in the best way he could, doing what he loved and offering us that fantastic album.
Best of You
Time is Golden
When You Dance
Kiss Me Once
Lean on the Fire
Lay Thy Hand
You can follow Big Smoke’s news at bigsmokebdr.bandcamp.com or via thier FACEBOOK page. For an extended listen to the album, tune in on Thursday from 1.30PM – 2PM for ‘Album of the Week’ with Paul Goupille. Don’t forget to also listen out for your opportunity to win a copy of ‘Time is Golden’’ all week. You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up at http://eastsidefm.org/support-us-2/. You can also stream the station at WWW.EASTSIDEFM.ORG