Former Australian Crawl frontman unflinchingly stakes out his claim, producing one of the most striking albums of the late-eighties. Produced by Davitt Sigerson, the veritable maestro of searingly intense and emotional pop/rock (David & David, Toni Childs), and featuring appearances by Olivia Newton-John, Davids Baerwald & Ricketts, David Lindley, and Lee Curreri to name but a few, James Reyne is the album that established a unique new voice for an already widely established pop icon. From the frenetically edgy opening of "Fall Of Rome," Reyne uses his voice as an instrument, leaping wildly across complex melody lines littered with irresistable hooks. As if to further distance himself from his former beach band, Reyne's lyrics take on a greater depth amidst oblique furious rhythms: (from "Fall Of Rome": "Well I've been living a categorical lie/Each last thrill the penultimate high/Just one more hit before I can die...Mirror don't lie, mirror don't lie"). Rooted in eighties rock, Aussie new wave (Split Enz a notable reference), and singer-songwriter confessionals, James Reyne bears only hints of the Crawl's breezy melodies. The album's gemstone is the 7+ minute epic, "Always The Way", in which Reyne builds from a quiet description of a broken affair to a guitar-searing solo and a mournful wail of "Be a master of your destiny/This is not a joke". With this self-titled manifesto, James Reyne announced his arrival... and it was not a joke. Note: American version substitutes minor American single "Motor's Too Fast" in place of "Coin In A Plate."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tomas Mureika