Cynics may cry “Amen” however, while it’s certainly true that you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find anything sadder than the lead singer of The Weather undertaking a tour of Micronesia ten days after the band fizzled out like luke-warm piss floating down an alleyway behind the Tribesco Social Club, the story behind this album, from Melbourne’s own Cried, must surely take the banana.
Cried were the poster boys of the early twenty-first century. They emerged from the collective unconscious of our fin de siecle and painted daffodils, penguins and roses on their twenty-first century EPs. Cried looked better, sounded better and emoted better than any other band, prior or since.
I recall my first experience of a Cried show, I think it was down at the TSC, way back when local bands could fill out local venues with a crowd full of locals, singing songs about local issues like the closure of the local pool, and its assumed effect upon the great (now) unwashed. The band were in top form that night, welding industrial aesthetics with a Marconi-era love of bling-bong, astounding the audience with a set that constituted not so much a cry for help as a funeral notice.
Their insistence on spartan arrangements and whispered vocals endeared them to the Gothic crowd but in reality their natural audience was a future, non-existant one. Nowhere was this more apparent than on their DNRC debut, “Whatever & Ever”, a collection of dirges so tragic the label forced the band to re-record the title track and first single “Lamb/Slaughter”.
Drawing heavily on the tired misery of Nick Cave, lead singer Tom Mutser sounds acerbicly driven on most cuts featured here, although he does find a shred of sensuality during the bleak coda of “Sydney Awe (The Bush)”: “I saw a sheep kill itself against a fencepost/ then watched as the farmer dissected the carcass/after that day I never ate meat again /i never did like the word ‘mutton’ anyway”.
Sadly deleted, this album lives on in the minds of all who were there the night Mutser announced his own death on stage. His disappearance remains one of the most tragic (and unresolved) mysteries in the history of DNRC.