- 1. Lunar Sea 4.48 3857 plays
- 2. Burning Boy 5.05 2118 plays
- 3. Darling Hills 4.09 1556 plays
- 4. An Open Mine 3.45 4234 plays
- 5. Golden Guilt 5.13 930 plays
- 6. Flightless Bird 3.41 864 plays
- 7. An Unborn Spark 3.47 745 plays
- 8. The Garden 4.42 759 plays
- 9. A Double Life 4.48 874 plays
- 10. Blue Valeria 2.38 900 plays
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The Darling Ranges lie about 35 km's south of Perth. The drive is mostly highway, fairly droll until you start actually ascending the hills themselves, at which point great dips and troughs reveal themselves and the whole region takes on a strange arid quality. The area was on fire for about 4 days in early 2011. Joe Mckee grew up in these hills and, after 4 years under the spell of London, he returned to them. Burning Boy is his debut album.
Joe's previous outfit, Snowman, were significant. They released 2 albums out of Perth - 2006's self titled effort and 2009's violent masterpiece The Horse, The Rat & The Swan. Praise, wide ranging and effusive, came from all corners of the globe. Victory laps beckoned. Stumps were upped and the gang of four headed to London, basing themselves out of a small flat above a cafe in Walthamstow. They pieced together Absence – a magnificent pulsing, wash of a record that would become their parting salvo. Two of them moved to Iceland child in tow, another firmly folded into the arms of Cambridge. Joe, always spinning in his own orbit, landed back in Perth with a collection of songs inspired by this process, by home, by London and by the catharsis involved in returning to a place you've tried so long to forget.
Burning Boy itself is a bold shift for McKee. Gone is the pulsing rhythm section so often omnipresent in his work, replaced by a breathy and somewhat unexpected baritone. Cuts like Open Mine, a loose mediation on Western Australia's recent gold rush, and the brooding title track show a vulnerability and lyrical dexterity seen for the first time here.
Recorded with long-time collaborator Dave Parkin, these 10 tracks move together as an exhilarating whole, acting as a timely reminder of McKee's reputation as one of Australia's finest left field composers. Burning Boy adds a few new strings to the bow though. Once you become immersed in it's gorgeous swells and poignant imagery it becomes immediately obvious that in all the coming, going, leaving and returning; that Joe Mckee has, at least for now, found a melodic home.
Burning Boy is out in MAY
on Dot Dash.