Hush The Mountain - Sabrina Lawrie (Pig City)
If you’re not from Brisbane, you might be justified in asking: “Sabrina Who?” If you are from Brisvegas and you're still in the dark, shame, you need to get out much more. The rest of the world? You just need to pay attention.
Sabrina is well known in her home town and its small but vibrant live scene as a performer and band booker. She used to put bands through the much loved (and regrettably defunct) Beetle Bar. Her own Sabrina Lawrie and The Hunting Party is an ace band that I’ve been lucky enough to see, and she’s also dipped a toe in the water by playing in Los Angeles.
On a side note, a year ago this mum of one had a near fatal accident that left her with a broken back. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, or so it’s said. Mostly by people who’ve never broken their back.
But we’re not here to fuck spiders. Let’s cut to the chase: This is a world class album or bluesy, beguiling psych rock It’s passionate, memorable and involving. The pop hooks are probably buried too deep for mainstream ears but it’s rich in brooding, moody songs, and the writing is blessed with a rich sense of dynamics.
As a rock talent, Sabrina Lawrie is up there with anyone. No need to make direct comparisons or drop any names. When you hear “Hush The Mountain” you’ll recognise any number of them, soon enough.
Unusually for someone who can cut it live, Sabrina played most of the instruments herself on her album. Ex-Screamfeeder guitarist Derek Mudge recorded most of “Hush The Mountain” at Brisbane studio The Shed. He’s done a killer job and the record - it’s on vinyl, not CD, but I’m reviewing a download - fairly jumps out of the speakers.
“No Rules” has a tumbling melody line and wonderful Sabrina vocal. The heavy and hooky “Little Red House” makez it my choice as a single. The imploring “High Time To Fly” is another ear-catcher. It quietly builds before the bass and drum feel kick in. Lawrie's vocal seizes the moment before stepping aside some searing tidy passages.
All but "Little Red House" are probably topperd by "Shine The Light" where hide-and-seek multi-tracked vocals bathe in smouldering dynamics and searing guitar. It's made for enlightened radio. Yes, it does exist in plasces.
There’s a distinct ‘90s feel to much of the music and that’s no bad thing. The power is sometimes muted but without any reduction in intensity. If you doubt that Sabrina Lawrie can rock out, you only need to hear the closing cover of Le Smith’s “Rock ’n’ Roll Nigger” to realise you don’t know what you’re talking about.
There’s no clever spoken word prelude, just massed guitars, before the lady rips in and tears the song a new one. It might sound like hyperbole to say it’s done in a manner that the original PSG would have been challenged to match, but it’s no word of a lie. Patti would be proud. This one's a digital B side and isn't on the LP proper.
Sabrina's probably in no hurry to move to Melbourne (the epicentre of Australia's music scene) but, come on, who the fuck is Courtney Barnett anyway other than another inner-city chick in sandshoes with a marketing buget. With all due respect, she doesn't rock. Sabrina does.
"Hush The Mountain" a limited run of 200 copies. Don’t wait for Universal to buy the rights and re-issue it on CD globally, or dare the label to do a re-press. It’s owned by two working stiffs and in 20 years time, you wouldn’t want to have to explain to the grandkids why you don’t have this in your collection.