Thursday, August 26, 2010

Forgotten Music Thursday: The Cruel Sea - The Honeymoon is Over (1993)

When I was a senior in high school I received a sampler cassette from Polygram Records featuring recently released and up and coming material from their stable of artists/musicians.  Much of the material fell flat with me.  Only two songs really impressed me.  One of which by a band I'd never heard of, The Cruel Sea.  Their single,  The Honeymoon Is Over, instantly caught my attention.

Fast forward a few years to about 1997 or 1998.  I was scanning the shelves of the Sandusky library and stumbled upon this CD, The Honeymoon Is Over by the Cruel SeaI immediately signed out the CD and furthered my familiarity of this band beyond just the title track.

But first a little background.  The Cruel Sea started out as an instrumental group performing in a Sydney pub so small their guitarists would have to move around to afford the pool players the space to take their shots. 

Handling the lighting for many of their shows was Beasts of Bourbon vocalist, Tex Perkins who took a liking to many of their instrumental arrangements.  Perkins approached guitarist/band founder, Dan Rumour about putting lyrics to some of their instrumentals.

Initially, due to scheduling obligations with the Beasts of Bourbon, Perkins was only able to perform with the Cruel Sea ocassionally.  In 1993, when the Beasts were on hiatus, Perkins was able to devote more of his time to the Cruel Sea and finally became a full member of the band.

Perkins timing was fortuitous, in 1993 the Cruel Sea released their Australian smash hit album, The Honeymoon Is Over.  Which is the only of their albums to receive much notice in the United States. 

The Honeymoon Is Over mixes instrumental roots rock with tracks featuring the gravelly voiced Tex Perkins.  The instrumental and vocal tracks are equally enjoyable making this album an excellent soundtrack for summer parties and grillin' out on the barbie.

The album opens with the fun and somewhat whimsical Orleans Stomp which suggests hints of instrumental sixties surf music.

The title track is the ultimate in break-up songs with lyrics like: I'm gonna send you back to wherever the hell it was you came/then I'm gonna get this tattoo changed to another girl's name.  The groove is infectious and of all the songs on the album it's easily the most radio friendly.

Delivery Man features a killer groove and a smooth but raspy vocal by Tex Perkins.

But all of the songs are thoroughly enjoyable with an easy-going, laidback vibe.  While they would find continued success in their native Australia with Three Legged Dog, Over Easy, Where There's Smoke, and finally capping off their brilliant career was the 2CD live set We Don't Work We Play Music this album marked the beginning and end of their impact on the US market.

While The Honeymoon Is Over was not The Cruel Sea's debut album it is easily one of their most accessible albums and I'd venture the best place to start if you want to explore The Cruel Sea and get to better know their catalog.

Related Links
The Honeymoon Is Over live

The Cruel Sea (allmusic)
The Cruel Sea (wikipedia)
Dan Rumour & The Drift
Tex Perkins


George said...

Sounds like a great bar band.

Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas said...

I actually reviewed the album back in the day and quite liked it. I need to dig it out again.

Charlie said...

The Aussies certainly have a special way with music. This CD is no exception.