The influence of the coastline on the Melbournian five piece is undeniable, with references to the ocean popping up in the majority of tracks. The record is also soaked in sentiment with several songs reflecting upon the past with a glowing affection. Of the eleven tracks the majority are of a spritely nature, jangling feel-good pop songs that lodge themselves immediately inside your head. These are broken up by several jaunts into moments of solemn beauty. Whether we are dancing or pondering, there is simply no filler on this gem of a record.
The aptly titled ‘Dance Again‘ takes mere seconds to put a smile on your face. On display here for the first of many occasions is the band’s all hands on deck (my own nautical reference) approach to singalong choruses.
‘Hey Kid‘ (“we’re buiding a fire and wrapping our love around you”) is slower but continues the thread of cuddly warmth.
SGV‘s penchant for addictive jaunty pop is peeled off on ‘Making Our Way‘ and ‘Punch This Heart Of Mine.’ It is notoriously difficult to write happy music without straying into cheese but singer/songwriter Mark Lang has the art down pat.
Smack bang in the epicentre of the record SGV‘s solemn side emerges as Lang’s solo performed ‘Lost In The Heads‘ and ‘Weary World‘ (“we need to slow down and listen to the ocean more”) provide a mournful tangent. During these back to back tracks it is difficult to remove the image from your mind of a tumultuous ocean under grey skies.
Lugubrious deviations aside, it is back into some sunny seaside pop as ‘Bike‘ rejoices in the delights of a coastal cycle. Over infectious la la la’s and a chorus that ventures into falsetto, ‘West Coast‘ fantasises over the joys of spontaneously evacuating daily drudgeries, a notion we have all entertained from time to time.
With The Great Wave, SGV have not put a foot wrong over the thirty six minute duration. Honest and with a distinctive Australian flavour, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to press play again immediately after reaching the conclusion.