Taken from the debut album by The Doomed Bird of Providence - out on NOW (see the limited edition packaging here - http://one69a.com/portfolio/the-doomed-bird-of-providence-cd-sleeve-insert/)
Recounting stories from the dusty, obscure corners of colonial times, The Doomed Bird of Providence set off on an exploration of early Australian history, darkly probing its more abject and harrowing aspects. The resulting music is brooding, dramatic and heavily indebted to Ennio Morricone, Jacques Brel, Scott Walker and the English Folk Revival. Buttressed by accordion, ukulele, bass, guitar and violin, singer Mark Kluzek rants and laments the death and degeneracy of settlers and convicts alike in this hostile, unrelenting environment. The Doomed Bird of Providence shed light on obscure corners, to mythologise and empower previously hidden stories. And to bring forth all that is disturbing, mysterious and tragic.
Will Ever Pray is their debut album - a meticulous creation cleaved from original historical source material, bringing to visceral life the forgotten stories of Australia's earliest days, bathed in salt, blood and dark-deeds.
Four of these tales are recounted in the first half of the record. In 'On a Moonlit, Ragged Sea" the death of embezzler John Croaker is imagined as taking place in the tropics and the flies swarming the corpse is conveyed with the drone of strings; 'The Wild Beast of Goat Island' recounts the macabre fate of Charles Anderson who was chained to a rock on Goat Island and survived on offal thrown at him by passers-by; 'On the Deathbed of Janus Weathercock' tells of the "wormy forebodings" of alleged poisoner and confirmed dandy, Thomas Griffiths Wainwright and how they haunt him on his deathbed; 'Fedicia Exine' is about
the little known daughter of a convict, Maria, who was a slave in British Honduras when she was transported for murder and who later married a whaler. The song attempts to create a sense of identity for the mysterious girl, for whom there are no records after birth, from the geography of Hobart.
The latter half describes in five parts the massacre on board the The Sea Horse through an original broadsheet. Part 1 evokes an atmosphere of foreboding, the ship has returned but the massacre is looming; Part 2 puts lyrics from the broadsheet to a more upbeat melody and sets the scene for what is about to happen; Part 3 describes the massacre using some of the broadsheet's description and Part 4 is a lament for the lives lost. Part 5 is a version of the traditional 'Dives and Lazarus' melody, referring to the bible story about the spiritual victory of the poor over the rich. Here the tale has been given a twist in light of the massacre: the people were all hard working and became wealthy people, although some were originally convicts. They were murdered by poor criminals who became wealthy through their terrible actions.
Kluzek started writing lyrics inspired by reading books such as The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes and the band was formed in 2008 to provide a musical setting. In addition to Hughes' 'warts and all' account, Kluzek imbibed the history of early convict and whaling centres such as Norfolk Island. The music that emerged deliberately avoided the notion of 'authentic' Australian music, rather aiming to encompass elements of music that Kluzek thought would better suit the dramatic potential of the stories.
Gradually other musicians became interested in being involved live and in recordings. Ukelele player Drew Barker (SOUP, Croft) and bass player Stafford Glover (Extreme Noise Terror, Beatglider) performed with Kluzek at the first Doomed Bird show at the Colchester Arts Centre supporting Simon Finn. Since that time the band has grown into a five piece including Daniel Merrill (Dead Rat Orchestra) on violin and Richard Acton (formerly of Limn) on guitar. Will Ever Pray also features the talents of Rachel Laurence (Viola) and Tony Ramsey (Guitar).