Lawrence Arabia’s Breezy Absolute Truth
Included in a roundup of the best Australian LPs that might have passed you by in the past months, (the Guardian includes a caveat) is Christchurch-born Lawrence Arabia’s latest, Absolute Truth.
“The lyrics of musician Lawrence Arabia (James Milne) are snort-out-loud funny but in the manner of Oscar Wilde, they ring true too,’ Kate Hennessy writes. “‘I was so fresh and foolish/Bold and bullish, kind of toolish,’ he sings on Brain Gym.
“Milne’s fourth album of wry symphonic pop is out on seminal Dunedin label Flying Nun. On his last (excellent) record, Milne made genres like ragtime seem easy and he’s similarly breezy here. There’s a hint of Lambchop’s mid-afternoon languor on The Old Dancefloor and Yo La Tengo’s poised mid-tempo rock. Elsewhere, Milne tosses yacht rock overboard in favour of shameless cruise-ship schmaltz. On Another Century you imagine him as the performer on a late-70s liner, singing for passengers in puffy bathing suits with bronzed leathery skin. Its syrupy swooping strings, fresh-faced falsetto and ‘shooby do wop’ choruses stroll dangerously close to parody, but like Beck circa Midnight Vultures, if you embrace the role-play it’s fun as hell.”
Milne toured the US as bassist for Auckland-based pop group The Brunettes, and as drummer for Ryan McPhun’s Ruby Suns.
He was born in 1981.
Original article by Kate Hennessy, The Guardian, October 11, 2016.