Love Letter To A Record: Dominic Breen On The Bats’ ‘Daddy’s Highway’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Dominic Breen – The Bat’s, Daddy’s Highway (1987)

Dear Daddy’s Highway,

If crying oceans crashing on broken limestone cliffs are the snare-hits of the Wide Open Road, and lost boats hurtling down the giant Mississippi are the unchained howls of Highway 61, what then for you – Daddy’s Highway – you jangling, meandering stretch of four-piece asphalt weaselling your way through uncertain hillsides of bumpy nowhere, somewhere between Jubilee and Misery?

The, mostly, DIY construction has meant there are no lofty overpasses or lookouts on Daddy’s Highway, and yet, within your few components is some sort of vast beguiling magic. Once when I was listening to ‘Mad on You’, the bit where they start singing “they go so wild” injected me with a kind of ecstasy, a strength to seize the day, while at the same time made me want to break down and cry. Why is that?

On Daddy’s Highway, God never speaks to Abraham. Sure, no guns go off in your chest as they do on the Wide Open Road. But, if one spends the time driving down your 17 rattly tracks, one will catch arguably the most beautiful melody ever played on a guitar, poking its shy head through the grainy treeline of ‘Trouble in this Town’ or ‘Miss These Things’, for instance. One might hear the rollicking bass on ‘Calm Before the Storm’ – simultaneously sitting in the groove while bouncing outward with exuberance. And yes, surely no two voices go better together than Robert Scott and Kaye Woodward.

Perhaps in a sense, the piece de resistance of Daddy’s Highway is the sheer lack of one. No other stretch of road better connects the outposts of happy and sad better than Daddy’s Highway by the Bats. Your songs are sustained simply by the sheer strength of their spirit and they introduce new facets of themselves every time I listen.

So, thank you Daddy’s Highway.

Dominic Breen’s long-awaited debut album, ‘Blue Volume, is out now. Released via Sydney label Double Drummer (Greta Stanley, Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird), ‘Blue Volume’ sees Breen deep dive into themes of identity, anxiety, hope, disillusionment, yearning and love.

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