Scott & Charlene's Wedding: Mid Thirties Singles Scene

For Scott & Charlene's Wedding maybe the banal is becoming a bit too banal?

- I was driving around listening to Mid Thirties Single Scene and I was flatly reminded of how miserable life can be. Scott & Charlene’s Wedding write songs that could potentially be categorized into a genre whose initials are, like Arthur the aardvark’s sister, D.W. – and their subject matter most frequently revolves around the dullest parts of Australian life.

So that’s the whole point. Main man and songwriter Craig Dermody is clearly concerned with articulating some of the excruciating pain he and, let’s face it, everyone else is dealing with – see Distracted – but on the new album, the laziness and banality of the overall approach has lost a level or two of its charm. It feels lazy in a bogus way.

Opening track and lead single Maureen has been getting some decent attention, and in many ways it’s a signature SACW jam. An unusual narrative gradually unfolds with astute attention to the crummy details, and the band messily and carelessly frolics along. It’s kind of fun, but there’s something missing. There’s nowhere for the listener to cut in and have as much fun as the actual band.

Don’t Bother Me is an easygoing song that should probably be about half as long as it is. I wanted to hear more lines like, “when I dance, I look just like a crab”. But Dermody sort of just says that his friends tease him for the way he dances, and it doesn’t bother him. So, essentially, it’s a song about nothing.

The most interesting moments on the record are Hardest Years and Scrambled Eggs. The former is a bit of an epic situation with a sprawling narrative revolving around a son and his dad and their understated sense of understanding. There’s real heartache inside the song, but again, it’s drawn out and a little overwrought. The potential gets drowned out by the way the band feel like they have to smear the feeling with Aussie artifice.

The objectively greatest line of the whole album comes on Scrambled Eggs, when Dermody says “wake up in the morning, I make scrambled eggs / and they’re immaculate.” Maybe this contradicts my whole objection to the overemphasized banality, but on this song, it’s done right. Dermody cleverly uses it to introduce the song, and then blindside you with some harsh reality. After describing his routine, he says, “my life was so different when I knew you.” What could be truer or more upsetting?

Mid Thirties Single Scene should do well for S&CW. They’re touring the UK soon and the record’s even coming out on Fire. All good news, and frankly I’m happy for them. But when it comes to the music, I agree with the band: “it don’t bother me at all.”

- Joe Saxby

Album Details

Album Title: Mid Thirties Singles Scene
Artist: Scott & Charlene's Wedding
Record Label: (Bedroom Suck / Fire)