INDIE ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Fever In The Road feels like a rebirth and a creative reawakening for a band secure in its history and confident of its brave new direction.

When bands get five albums in like The Bamboos are, it can be a hard thing to deliver a sixth. Your sound is already well established, and the fans are expecting you keep true to it – however, you also need to show that you’ve still got places to go creatively, and prove the show isn’t over. Fever In The Road does just that. It succeeds in sounding exactly the way you think The Bamboos should sound, while shaking up your expectations at the same time.

Band leader and multi-instrumentalist Lance Ferguson once again enlists John Castle as co-producer (the two already having worked together on previous album Medicine Man), and together they venture into the unknown, exchanging Medicine Man’s guest-heavy lineup for the core band, stripping back their rich sound to its bare structure, then bulking it back out with more guitars, organs, pianos, and other instruments. The result is still striking: a reduced album which doesn’t feel like it’s missing a thing.

The opener ‘Avenger’ is testament to the band’s darker stance, while ‘Rats’ answers any worry that the band has lost any of its funk and soul essence. Vocalists Ella Thompson and Kylie Auldist swap back and forth between songs, passing the mic to each other like a baton in a relay. Thompson’s ‘Your Lovin’ Is Easy’ is full of sweetness and innocence, while Auldist’s ‘Leave Nothing Behind’ contains the same strength and distinctiveness as the intro of a James Bond film.

4.5/5 stars

BY DANIEL PRIOR

Fever In The Roadis out now through Pacific Theatre/Inertia

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