Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Alex Gordon-Smith
Kaurna Country-based collective Dom & The Wizards are mere weeks away from the release of forthcoming record The Australian Cyclone Intensity Scale (out on April 2 via Tenth Court), but are squeezing in one more appetiser in the form of new single ‘Classical Antiquity Sunsets’. The track sees bandleader Dom continuing his marvellous storytelling streak, weaving sinister tales set to the kind of sun-warped music that can only emanate from his corner of the continent.
Is Dom Trimboli a songwriter or storyteller? After digesting much of his back-catalogue of material – ranging from his Wireheads days to his current outlet as the front-facing figure of ramshackle troupe Dom & The Wizards – and I can’t help but marvel at Dom’s approach to sound and narrative. I’m curious about his views on the symbiotic relationship between both and if he builds songs more to carry his tales or crafts a story to suit his music. Does it matter? Probably not at all – I only mention it because Dom feels more like a weaver of fictive prose than a straight-shootin’ songwriter – like there’s more driving his creative exercise. Dom’s approach is singular and memorable, even amongst the small circle of similarly verbose musical contemporaries. All of this is to say that Dom & The Wizard’s newest single ‘Classical Antiquity Sunsets’ – the second track plucked from forthcoming record The Australian Cyclone Intensity Scale (out in early April through Tenth Court) – is remarkable, both in its construction and impact.
‘Classical Antiquity Sunsets’ follows on from preceding single ‘Outlaws and the Cops’, with each track boasting a unifying element in Dom’s knack for penning expressive, layered and irreverent yarns. These are anecdotes informed and inspired by the mundane and the sordid aspects of life – the unheralded happenings that occur beyond the headlines, on the fringes of society. Much like ‘Outlaws and Cops’ before it, ‘Classical Antiquity Sunsets’ makes use of a softly shambling beat and a lightly contorted, slightly haunted violin melody. But in this instance, the track’s biggest sonic fixture is an unhurried, almost genial piano slink, which gives the track an old-timey stage show feel – like a velvet curtain has been drawn back to reveal Dom in the spotlight, conveying this specific piece of Australian mythology to a wrapt audience (of which I am at the centre). Both tracks released thus far make me think that the record itself will feel almost like a thumbed-through cult novella or compendium of short stories – filled with sun-soaked and sediment-coated tales from the desperate corners of Australia. If it hits anywhere close to that mark, it might earn the crown of the most unique record to drop this year. Time will tell, but I doubt I’ll be disappointed in any case.
Listen to ‘Classical Antiquity Sunsets’ here: