[27 July 2011]
Self-described purveyors of “Australian roots music”, Mark Lucas and the Dead Setters play what sounds to these American ears as fairly middle-of-the-road rock and roll, with a bit of country twang in the mix. Lucas conjures up images of hitting the road, of wandering through familiar towns, of jaded seekers searching for love—the details might be particular to Australia, but the feeling is familiar far beyond that country’s borders.
And the songs? They tend to be agreeable, mid-tempo rockers, with Lucas’s plaintive voice sailing above the band. There’s the expected mix of guitars, drums and bass, with a bit of fiddle, pedal steel or harmonica for that country accent. “Firewater” stands out for its brooding bass line and lyrics like “Been in trouble since I don’t remember when”. “Rainbow’s End” sashays along in a bluesy, slide-guitar way, while “Standing on a Bridge” chug-a-lugs like Bo Diddley.
Elsewhere, songs tend to blur together a bit, although “Price of Love” wails nicely, courtesy of twinned harp and guitar lines and its pithy lyrics: “Even my generation votes for greed and war”. Sadly, that bit is true outside Australia, as well.