Juice Net One Eyed Man Review
Fairly positive “One Eyed Man” review.
Author: David Messer
Date: 1 March 2001.
Original URL: http://www.juice.net/
Rating: 3 star.
Critic’s Choice: One Eyed Man.
Celebrated though the Hunnas were as Australia’s ultimate alternative pub rock outfit — all democracy, strength in numbers, shout-along choruses and ensemble grunt — for many listeners the songs that most appealed were the ones that broke away from that mould. Tracks like “Throw Your Arms Around Me” and “You’re Still Hanging Around” were still Hunters & Collectors songs, but most of all they were Mark Seymour songs. The attraction of these was in their observation of basic human emotions and a melodic strength that often eluded songs engulfed more fully by the group ethos.
So, a second Mark Seymour album, and the first since the Hunters’ break-up, holds a lot of promise. And as on its predecessor, 1996’s King Without A Clue, Seymour consistently pursues the classic pop format that one suspects he has had one eye on all along. Ironically, given his brother’s history, One Eyed Man sounds most of all like Crowded House (in a way, even more so than Neil Finn’s subsequent solo efforts, which makes one wonder what influences that band drew upon in the first place). There is the same reliance on pure melodies, delicate guitars and emotional analysis, as well as a reluctance to depart from the early Beatles’ rulebook. And while maybe there is nothing here to quite match a “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (or a “Throw Your Arms”), plenty of tracks come close.
The title track is an anthemic ballad that sounds simultaneously guileless and chartbound; “Ready to Go” embraces a folk tradition seldom ventured into by Seymour in the past, and easily passes the acoustic guitar test of a great song; “See You Around Sometimes” shows that Seymour’s love of the big ballad is matched by his ability to handle it. With One Eyed Man, Seymour has abandoned the group ideology of his old band, and some of the social passion, but he has replaced the latter with a more personal one, and one that might just help him at last crack the mainstream.