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Doomed Bird of Providence - Will Ever Pray

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 24 / 4 / 2011

Doomed Bird of Providence - Will Ever Pray
Label: Front and Follow
Format: CD


Unsettling, fascinating and compelling debut album from the Doomed Bird of Providence, which describes the often brutal early history of Australia and its roots as a penal colony

Currently a five-piece band the spark for this album was ignited when singer Mark Kluzek felt inspired to start writing lyrics after reading 'The Fatal Shore' by Robert Hughes, which was a historical account of the United Kingdom’s settlement of Australia as a penal colony with convicts. Kluzek has turned those lyrics into a series of songs detailing the early history of Australia and it makes for an unsettling, fascinating and compelling album. It is simply quite unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. While it’s impossible to pigeonhole this music, one is reminded of sea shanties, although not necessarily in the traditional sense sung by Tom Waits offspring. It’s Kluzek’s vocals that are the most compelling thing about the songs. From the very first words he sings you are captivated by his voice and really that’s the only thing you focus on for the first few minutes. While the music supplied by ukulele, accordion, violin and guitar certainly adds greatly to the atmosphere created by Kluzek, and be aware that at times this music actually transposes the listener to places you’d rather not be, the power and shock of first hearing that voice is all you can really concentrate on for the first couple of songs. It’s not until the fourth song, ‘Fedcia Exine’, that the actual music becomes more powerful than the vocals, and paints just as strong a picture as Kluzek’s lyrics. Obviously the shadow of death falls large over some of these songs. It’s not an easy ride at times especially the last five tracks which together describe the massacre on board The Sea Horse of all the passengers and part of the crew on the homeward passage from Sydney. Part one of ''The Massacre sets the scene perfectly; it’s an instrumental section that conjures up the forthcoming harrowing scenes so well one can feel the fear that surely must have been growing at the time. Accordion and the drone of a string section convey more than words ever could on this opening piece. Towards the end of this first section the strings express a feeling of hope, that all might not be lost but one fears it is just too late. It’s a brilliant way of ending the piece though and shows just how melodic Kluzek can be. Using the word beautiful to describe the last section of this piece is at odds with what went before but that’s what it is; a beautiful piece of music. Parts two and three of 'The Massacre' are vocal tracks that tell the tale, in some detail and again quite disturbingly, of the actual massacre. Yet again Kluzek’s vocals are superbly suited to these songs, one gets the feeling he almost relishes telling this macabre story and you will feel compelled to listen. Again the piece ends with strings that wordlessly send the same messages. Part four, again an instrumental passage, with piano, violin and accordion equally playing a part really is the highlight of the whole ‘The Massacre’ half of the album. It perfectly captures a feeling of loss, of hopelessness, without one single word being spoken. While it’s an integral part of the second part of this story it’s also a piece of music that stands up on its own. The same could be said for the closing and fifth part of 'The Massacre', another instrumental which this time offers, strangely, a little hope before the crashing waves appear to wipe out all that has gone before. ‘Will Ever Pray’ is the most original, challenging but ultimately rewarding album that you’ll likely to hear all year. Kluzek has taken instrumentation from decades ago to frame his tale of early Australian history and still created an album that not only sounds contemporary, but that also sounds original and for that alone you really should try to listen to this remarkable tale.

Track Listing:-
1 On A Moonlit, Ragged Sea
2 The Wild Beast Of Goat Island
3 On The Deathbed Of Janus Weathercock
4 Fedicia Exine
5 Part 1
6 Part 2
7 Part 3
8 Part 4
9 Part 5

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