CASH SAVAGE & THE LAST DRINKS
Dark, Deep, and unmistakably Australian
Ask Cash Savage how last year was and she’d tell you: “it was fucking awesome, but fucking hard”. It’s a statement that’s been instilled into the Melburnian’s growling alt-country for years, but never so strongly as on her newest album, One Of Us. In it, Cash Savage explores beauty, freedom and the darkness that seep into even the supposedly safest of realms: family, friendship, sleep and love. One Of Us is a record of duality, one that marks another stage of growth for Cash Savage & The Last Drinks.
The ecstatic highs and devastating lows of 2015 would shape One Of Us, Cash Savage and The Last Drinks’ debut album for new label, Mistletone Records. There was her marriage, a European tour and the loss of a few close friends and family to suicide. After a long spell from writing, allowing these emotional events to sink in, Cash Savage grabbed a six-pack, headed off to the studio, turned her guitar up to 12 and began composing the songs that would form One Of Us. Produced by Nick Finch and recorded by Nao Anzai at Head Gap in Melbourne, One Of Us follows on from 2013’s critically acclaimed, The Hypnotiser and is packed tight with the kind of well-crafted, country and blues ear candy the band has become known for.
Cash Savage opens One Of Us with “Falling, Landing”, a song of appreciation, with a lingering vision of potentially having been reduced to nothing. “Run With The Dogs”, “Sunday Morning” and “My Friend” continues to explore the reality that falling hard – both in love and in loss – demands a whole-world understanding that includes our darker sides. By the end of the record, on title track, One Of Us, Cash faces the actuality that even though we are together, ultimately we’re always alone.
Influences beyond loss come in the form of bizarre occurrences, like “Do You Feel Loved”, which recounts witnessing a go-go dancing class in a local pub one rainy night and the insomnia tainted “Rat-A-Tat-Tat”. “Empty Page” comes from a long bout of writer’s block, while the hymnal ache of “Song For A Funeral” is where we find Cash’s ability to craft devastating honesty with her growling vocal exemplified. The Last Drinks added a multitude of instrumentation to the record, fleshing out Savage’s original compositions; Cash’s astonishing and confident vocals allow the musicians around her to flourish. Joe White provides soaring guitar work; Rene Mancuso contributes drums and percussion; Chris Lichti adds bass; and Brett Marshall lifts numerous songs with banjo accompaniments. Finally, Kat Mear on violin brings to light the eerie cadence and dramatic swells of the album’s dark side.
In the end, Cash fulfils the promise many heard on the first two albums and brings her most realised effort of song- writing and lyricism to fruition. The songs on One Of Us reflect the grieving that comes from loss and embrace the new road ahead. This new effort is bound to be regarded as Cash’s most intricate work to date.