Busby Marou hail from sub-tropical Rockhampton on the banks of the Fitzroy River in Queensland, Australia, and this is a pretty good indicator of the type of music they play. It’s the perfect mixture of Pete Murray, Jack Johnson, and Josh Pyke, which isn’t surprising considering their debut EP, The Blue Road was recorded in Pete Murray’s personal studios in Byron Bay, before Busby Marou toured with Murray. Since then, they have won the Indigenous Award at Brisbane’s Q Song Awards, taken out a Deadly for Most Promising New Talent in Music, and won the Blues and Roots Category of the Year at the APRA Music Awards in 2012. They were also the only unsigned artists to be asked to appear on He Will Have His Way –The Songs Of Tim and Neil Finn, a tribute by Australian and New Zealand acts to the much celebrated brothers from Crowded House.
Busby Marou’s new album, Farewell Fitzroy, continues in the footsteps of their first, self-titled album. It’s stripped back, no gimmicks, organic music, and it’s really a breath of fresh air in an age of techno and auto-tune. Jeremy Marou’s incredible talent on pretty much all instruments, but especially guitar, really shines through, as does his background in his native Torres Straight Islander music, and Thomas Busby’s laidback and chilled out vocals add to the beachy, surf coast, country/folk vibe.
The thing that really captures listeners with Busby Marou’s music is their incredible story-telling. Each song on Farewell Fitzroy tells a different story, from falling head over heels in love too early, to that confusion felt when someone is stringing you along, to a classic nerd loves girl next door story, to optimistic break up songs (“waiting for my baby to come back to me/ but now that she’s gone/ I’ve got a game plan”). There’s even a quintessential Australian love tale; a story of travelling this vast country, experiencing the highs and lows of the landscape and great love at the same time.
Busby Marou’s music is pretty similar throughout Farewell Fitzroy, and also to their debut album. It’s country/folk/indie, but the biggest range in songs is from really country (such as Keep Me Hanging On) to more rock (Heard It All Before). The most individual track on Farewell Fitzroy is its closing number, Waterlogged. Waterlogged is a very tropical sounding track that opens with bird song and ukulele. There’s some really interesting percussive instruments used, which gives it a real tropical rainforest kind of feel, which is fitting since the song is all about the Fitzroy River breaking its banks, a regular and disastrous occurrence in recent years.
Whilst their music doesn’t seem to change much, if you’re happy with down-to-earth stories and chilled-out background barbeque music, Farewell Fitzroy is excellent. It’s happy, uplifting music which is destined to be the soundtrack for this Australian summer.
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