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Anthony Atkinson - Mental Notes Aplenty

  by John Clarkson

published: 5 / 12 / 2003

Anthony Atkinson - Mental Notes Aplenty
Label: Heliotone
Format: 7"


Debut limited three track vinyl for former Mabels frontman, Anthony Atkinson, who combines his 'strong ear for melody' with 'a storyteller's perspective of narrative'.

Anthony Atkinson was the frontman with the Mabels, a semi-acoustic Melbourne-based indie folk/pop act who formed in the late 90's. The Mabels made three excellent recordings, a six-song debut EP 'Caravan Park Girlfriend' (1997) and two albums, 'Scenes from a Midday Movie' (1998) and 'The Closest People' (2000), before splitting up amicably in early 2002 when its members began to leave to get married and to raise families. Atkinson has since then turned solo. He recently toured Europe with the Lucksmiths, and also earlier this year put out a new album, 'Come Home for Autumn'. 'Come Home for Autumn' has not been released outside Australia yet. As a prelude to it, however, former Emma's House boss and long term Anthony Atkinson fan Edward Jung has chosen to release, as the first offering of his new limited edition 8" vinyl label Heliotone, 'Mental Notes Aplenty', an EP which incorporates together three of its tracks. Atkinson has always had a strong ear for melody and combines this with a storyteller's perspective of narrative. The title track, written about and for those people who are gullible enough to believe everything that is told to them, tells of "shaky types and shaky schemes" and, through a snappy series of some true, some made-up vignettes, embellishes upon the lives of a group of damaged characters who include a boyfriend batterer, an adulterer and an alcoholic. It bittersweet tune begins with Atkinson bouncing his stuttering electric guitar up against some hurdy-gurdy style keyboards, and concludes in a pealing haze of horns and trumpets. It makes a powerful, dramatic start, but 'Mental Notes Aplenty' is, however, more than matched by its two B sides. The first of these, the jangling, breezy 'Half an Hour in the Afternoon', sympathetically describes with contrasting claustrophic tension the plight of a girl, who "no good when he is away", becomes so obsessed with her wayward boyfriend that she becomes reduced to near-stalking him. The latter, 'Summer's Out', is the most personal and simple of the three songs, and has Atkinson accompanying himself by plucking starkly at an acoustic guitar and looking back with mixed half-nostalgic, half-melancholic feelings at his childhood on the North coast of New South Wales. Atkinson has drawn likenesses with Damien Jurado, Richard Buckner and the Pernice Brothers. They are fair comparisions, but, with his strong ability at composing a tune, and his unique sense of time and place, he could be also compared to his fellow countrymen, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan from the Go-Betweens, and the late, great David McComb of the Triffids. As both an introduction to 'Come Home for Autumn', and also to the Heliotone label, 'Mental Notes Aplenty' is first-rate.

Track Listing:-
1 Mental Notes Aplenty
2 Half An Hour In The Afternoon
3 Summer's Out

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