Album Reviews

The Dissociatives – The Dissociatives

(Virgin) UK release date: 2 May 2005


“All of this time on my hands has so far gone to feeding my animals,” The Dissociatives’ Horror With Eyeballs informs us. Could it be that Aussie Silverchair front man Daniel Johns was bored, so decided to hook up with electrowizz – and mate, mate – Paul Mac? It’s as good an explanation as any for how feelgood chillsters The Dissociatives (try saying that when you’re drunk) were formed.

This eponymously titled record sounds like it was made without any pressure, worries or fears of failure from two friends at the top of their game. Lifting The Veil From The Braille could be at home on a Lemon Jelly record had it not been for the reflective, downtempo whistling – it makes for a vibe that’s more WWII film than club night.

Inoffensive percussion, sparkling synths, piano and acoustic guitar lap gently to the sides of the piece and leave a silly smile on the listener’s lips – and then a middle section alternates between Blur-lite and James Galway. It’s highly original as well as fun.

Forever And A Day relatively drags, but showcases Johns’ ability to modulate his voice to the music which, like most of the tracks on this record, is downtempo and relaxed.

Not all though – Thinking In Reverse is an ’80s synth stomp from the off, before a restrained electric guitar adds to the soundscape, leaving the track somewhere between unnerving and toe-tapping. It’s one of two obvious singles.

The other is the supremely stickable Young Man, Old Man (You Ain’t Better Than The Rest), a light, airy confection with piano and a shambling beat. There’s more than a hint of The Beatles‘ soupy, late period production about the bridge – recalling Hey Jude in startling style. Its phrases repeat too much to be in the same league as Macca’s opus, but this is daftly likeable stuff.

We’re back to Lemon Jelly contrasts with Aaangry Megaphone Man (sic) – this comes over as The Dissociatives take on The Shouty Track, albeit with moody piano and vocals stretches in amongst all the megaphoning.

It’s the home run of energy levels for the duo, and album closer Sleep Well Tonight suggests they know they’ve completed a job well done. A breezy, woozy, assured record, then – and not a bit like Silverchair.


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