The Watch It Wharf LP sleeve features an amusing ramble acknowledging that change is inevitable, but there’s always another bar just around the corner; an apt initiation into Nathan Roche’s life perspective. His tunes aren’t chipper exclamations about the lucky life, but they are founded in an optimistic, worry-about-it-later outlook.

The Sydney songwriter borrows generously from Lou Reed, takes nods from Memphis soul and smears it all in a Tex Perkinsian Aussie drawl. There’s a touch of pathos to Roche’s choked baritone musings, but he pushes forward with a sanguine spring in his step, dismissing any lingering pity. Music-wise, basslines lead the way next to paper-thin drums, rudimentary guitar and early rock’n’roll keyboards.

The record sounds like it was captured on one microphone in a Detroit garage in 1968 and left to ferment under stacks of discarded vinyl for 40 years. Again, this kink complements the terrain Roche maps out. Things aren’t perfect, but that’s no cause for apprehension.

The protagonist of Watch It Wharf is drunken, underpaid and barely there, but more importantly he’s hungry to live, fuck and make the most of everything sent his way. Watch this wharf, big things lie ahead.

4/5 stars.

Watch It Wharf is now available through Glenlivet-A-Gogh.

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