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Album Review: Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses – Tunnel At The End Of The Light

2 min read

The Tunnel At The End Of The Light holds the distinction not only of being one of the most moving albums Tex Perkins has yet released, but also one of the best. With its incredibly touching humanistic bent and the gentle yet intoxicating musicianship of the Dark Horses on display throughout, it is a fine record indeed, as gentle and chilling as an autumn breeze, and yet grounded and unpretentious in a deeply thrilling way.

Tex Perkins And The Dark Horses - Tunnel At The End Of The Light 2Album opener Lucky Me sets the tone for the proceedings. Though soft and subtle, the lyric stings, as Perkins repeats ‘oh lucky, lucky me’ in a laconic drawl that feels moments away from breaking into sardonic laughter. Indeed, the darker The Tunnel At The End Of The Light gets, the funnier it is. Perkins’ talents as a wordsmith have always been underrated, and the album’s title track in particular shows off the man’s words at their most polished and precise. ‘What makes you think you’re in the right?’ Perkins probes in a voice that sounds more resigned than accusatory.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? borrows both its title and a sense of shattering world weariness from Horace McCoy’s 1935 novel. As with the rest of the album, it is deeply moving, and manages to engage with the darker elements of the human condition without ever getting so esoteric that it loses sight of the listener, or becomes dry and considered. This is music that aims to connect on the deepest, most primal of levels, and it succeeds in droves.

Perkins’ voice has always impressed, but on All Is Quiet his timbres reach levels of beauty and complexity his work in the past has only hinted at. Similarly, his Dark Horses, a band made up of underrated Australian legends (including Joel Silbersher of GOD fame, and Charlie Owen of The New Christs) are on fine, fine form. Collectively, they play in a way that is airy and light, and yet incredibly precise.

Slide on By, an eight minute sun blasted ballad, is the album’s Rosetta stone, containing as it does everything that makes the record great. It’s psychedelic; it’s tough; it’s dark; but above all else, it is beautiful. It’s Tex Perkins and his Dark Horses at their best, as indeed The Tunnel At The End Of The Light is from beginning to end. Brutal, brilliant and beautiful, it’s a career high from a musician for whom almost every album is a new career high.