Review

The Perch Creek Family Jugband – Jumping On The Highwire

March 25, 2014

Jumping On The Highwire is the follow up to The Perch Creek Family Jugband’s 2011 debut Tall Tales. Using a washboard, jug, spoons and even tap-dancing to create their down-home sound, it’s an album full of toe-tapping good times.

Opening track Party on the Farm takes you out to a paddock in the middle of nowhere — you can virtually feel the sun on your face and flies buzzing around your head. The energetic tempo and upbeat lyrics are just a taste of what’s to come, setting the scene perfectly, and the combination of keys, harmonica, drums and alternating lead vocalists gives it a healthy glow.

The album is upbeat overall but the band showcase their range with tracks like Where You Been, which utilises vocal distortion, saxophone and a driving drum beat, and a neat conversational hook between the male and female vocalists. 
Mother of my Mother is straight blues, the slow, mournful intro with soulful harmonica and keys smoulders for a minute before the pace picks up with a banjo, violin and drums.

Watch: The Perch Creek Family Jugband – Party On The Farm

Big band, show-tune style tracks Why’d You Do That For and Carper Catinach at album’s end showcase the band’s diversity even further. The brass section stands out over the vocals in both tracks and the jaunty piano riffs keep the beat.

The Perch Creek Family Jugband are now a staple of Australian folk and blues music festivals, even crossing over to the indie side by appearing at the latest iterations of Falls Festival and Golden Plains, and it’s a real achievement to have captured the energy of their live show in a studio. They’ve thrown together a mixture of styles and ideas that could have made the album feel bloated, but instead they form a delicious blend which only highlights their talents further. Perfect for a lounge room hoedown.

The Perch Creek Family Jugband’s ‘Jumping on the Highwire’ is available now via Vitamin Records.