Scott & Charlene's Wedding
Para Vista Social Club
, February 7th, 2013 10:01
Craig Dermody is a torn man. Deeply rooted in southern Australian culture, his suburban upbringing soaks through Scott & Charlene's Wedding's ragged debut album. Para Vista Social Club's sound is indebted to the drizzling guitar of the Velvets and the small town frustration of the Stooges, so much so that Dermody's since moved to the US, but it's his southern slacker voice that makes him stand out.
The stupidity of that pop culture band name pins down one side of Dermody's history. He cut his teeth in Melbourne's underground, in scuzzy bands like Spider Vomit and Lindsey Low Hand, the flipside to the sunny image of the city in Neighbours' fictional Erinsborough. Opening further windows into his personal history, the album title puns on Para Vista, the Adelaide suburb of his youth.
Scott & Charlene's Wedding pull off the trick of playing every song like it's the first time. Despite the hissing, home recorded sound and variable vocals, it's perhaps a less spontaneous record than it appears, Dermody having roped in a trio of established Melbourne performers (from Lost Animal, Love Of Diagrams and Panel Of Judges) to back him. It's the sound of garage musicians playing loosely, not amateurishly.
The details of dashed hopes and wasted days accumulate line by line. The protagonist drives trucks for a furniture removal store but can't afford to run his own, so shuttles back and forth on public transport, killing time in bars. Every night ends on a lonely train ride, bad news from home intruding through his mobile as he zones out in the carriage. His journeys are Melbourne specific (‘Footscray Station', ‘Epping Line'), but the despondence is universal.
Love has deserted him a long time ago, Dermody descending to comic levels of abject abandonment. “I don't even want to eat sausages anymore” claims ‘Rejected', an acid rewrite of the Modern Lovers' ‘She Cracked'. He understands his predicament, but lacks the energy to pull himself out of it. “If I could, I would pack my bags today” admits ‘Find A Way', without any idea how.
Back in our world, Dermody's made the leap, upping sticks for New York. He's left a rich tale of dead end Melbourne life behind.