Moo, You Bloody Choir

This one falls under the category of better late than never. Although the import came out last year, Augie March's third long player is finally coming stateside thanks to Jive/Zomba. Moo, You Bloody Choir is a great slice of Australian pop, mixed with a bit of intelligent folk.

I don't mind being honest here. I have never heard any of Augie March's previous material, so I have no basis for comparing Moo to their older records. Upon first listen, several sources of inspiration come to mind, ranging from Jeff Buckley to I Am Kloot to even a bit of The Divine Comedy. The Buckley reference comes shining through on the opener, "One Crowded Hour." From frontman Glenn Richards' vocal delivery to the simple strumming of an electric guitar, this could have easily popped out of Grace.

The band cranks out one of their finest moments on the album quite early, with the powerful anthemic "Victoria's Secrets." The structure of the song is grandiose, restraining from going overboard until just the right moment, when the guitars are able to swoop upwards and carry the chorus into the stratosphere. The melancholic vibe of this track continues on for the next few songs, which drags just a bit. While the poetic lyrics and lush arrangements are nice, a little variety in tempo would have helped give this first portion of Moo a little more momentum.

"Mother Greer" gets the album back on track, sounding like Fleetwood Mac meets The Traveling Wilburys with jangly guitars, piano and chilling vocal harmonies. Now this is really, really nice. Augie March throws us a curveball with the rocking "Just Passing Through." Richards gets his inner Bruce Springsteen on with this great track, and when it finally hits the chorus, hold on to your hats. Soaring falsetto vocals, pounding drums, it is absolute greatness.

Although just a bit too long, Augie March's Moo, You Bloody Choir is a great listen. Fans of intelligent pop with well-crafted musical arrangements and sharp lyrics should check this one out. You won't be disappointed.

"One Crowded Hour"

Augie March

Moo, You Bloody Choir