Share PUSSY'S BOW - Conway Savage (Beheaded Communications)
You'd almost be excused for not knowing this is the seventh release under the Conway Savage moniker. If, like me, you think of him principally as Nick Cave's piano player, then you need to take a deeper dive.

This six-track EP fairly places the man front-and-centre and blows away some of the preconceptions of him as solely a country artist or (gasp) a Goth. Not that the Bad Seeds are remotely the latter these days. So that anguished cover photo is misleading.

First thing to note is that this is recorded in Ireland, not Melbourne, with friends Amanda Fox and Robert Tickner on board. "Pussy's Bow" is just six tracks but they do the job nicely.

"To Be So Lonely" is nothing less than a stripped-back Motown song, a soulful pop tune about rejection set to a boss nova beat. Plaintive, layered vocals and piano punctuation make it a delicate thing, with a shot of coolness in the organ outro.

"Friends" is a dissertation on someone who is not, with Savage's maudlin vocal mixing it with Fox's lighter accompaniment. Lyrics like: "I dun bin seduced by the dark side/Flattery will fuck you up every time" perversely slink around under a gently uplifting melody line.

"Beautiful Smile" and the title track both hang off Tickner guitar figures. The latter has whimsical accordion and a Fox vocal. Savage's vocal on the former has a distinct echo of Sir Nick even if it doesn't sound like it would have sat on any recent albums.

"Trail of Broken Hearts" is probably Savage's best vocal moment on this platter. It's as reflective as the closing "Crumbling World" is despairingly off-putting. "Pussy Bow" is nothing but a record of contrasting moods. And a very good one. - The Barman

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