Australia’s most celebrated contemporary songwriter has recorded his debut solo album. It is available now on CD / 2xLP / Digital Download. For the past ten years, Gareth Liddiard has been the driving creative force behind Australian Music Prize-winning band The Drones and a string of modern classics including ‘I Don’t Ever Want To Change’, ‘Sixteen Straws’ and ‘Shark-Fin Blues’ – named the greatest Australian song ever written by a panel of musicians polled by national youth network, Triple J.
Recorded in an isolated mansion thirty minutes outside Yass, in country New South Wales, Strange Tourist captures Liddiard at his most naked, and his most explosive. Armed with just a guitar, he makes surreal stories of tightrope walkers, down and outers, suicidal Japanese salarymen and suburban radicals come alive like no one else could.
On ‘Blondin Makes An Omelette’ Liddiard tells the story of wirewalker and acrobat Charles Blondin from the point of view of his eternally suffering understudy: “No one cared for him at all until he crossed Niagra Falls/ So you’d all feel a little lower down the scale… but I ain’t here because he’s tall, I’m only here to see him fall/ And if I get on the wagon now it’ll only be to run him down.”
Liddiard’s interest in Australian history and folklore also makes a return on Strange Tourist, but this time it’s mixed with a uniquely incisive take on current affairs and politics. The record contains one of his richest and most controversial songs to date, ‘The Radicalisation Of D’, loosely inspired by the incarceration of David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2001.
Recorded with another graduate of the Australian Music Prize, Burke Reid (the producer behind 2007 winner The Mess Hall’s Devils Elbow and The Drones’ fourth album Havilah), Strange Tourist is the latest instalment from one of Australia’s most talented poets. Listen to it now, because you’ll be hearing about it for years to come.