My First Album Review: “Figtree Renaissance II” by Lime Spiders Drummer, Richard Lawson
Album Review – Figtree Renaissance II by Richard Lawson
Review by Justin Sheedy
I set out to review this album. Only to find myself too busy being taken places by it. Here’s where it took me…
Track 1: Bells, Sirens and Memories
On a playful amble through my childhood, surrounded by the jangling mandolins and soon-to-be-extinct harpsichord, harmonica and bells of that time. The Minor key all around me is punctuated with optimism irrepressible. Discordant sirens of the future invade with ominous warning.
Track 2: Transport
Sombre, symmetrical cello strains channel me down corridors to where choice is mine no longer. Still, the violin quartet on the back seat of the school bus induces contentment unexpected, their pizzicato plucks pointing out every passing thing in the window.
Track 3: Bells of Nowhere
This one dropped me in the midst of urgent Youth, activity unstoppable: pressing this way, that way, this way, that, and here and there and everywhere and never getting Any-where…
Track 4: To the Light
The meaning I expected here was ‘to the light’ as in that of near-death experience, yet what I felt was the light of embryonic Revelation, that moment where the harmonic strains of innocence are forever displaced by the birth of Knowing. Though the strains of innocence left behind will always haunt.
Track 5: Epitaph
The title here would seem to support ‘death’ imagery as the correct take on the previous track… Mine was ‘death of innocence’. In any case, Epitaph took me to a place of simultaneous beauty and sadness, majesty and melancholy, my path stepping ever upwards.
…I couldn’t help feeling San Francisco.
Track 6: Egypt
Here I was drawn through an ancient scape of psychedelic interval and progression – Psyche = Mind / Delos = Clearing. To a place where Man first dared to conquer Death.
Track 7: Krakow
The Bach-like church organ playing on this track took me stepping tentatively down the aisle of a great cathedral. This track should be played inside one. Live. It would do such a place justice.
Track 8: Glass Forest
Flying with the spirits past the windows of skyscrapers, curling, swirling all around them, can they see us?
Track 9: Segue for Mars Landing
It’s long been held that there is no sound in Outer Space as it’s a near vacuum. This is a lie. It is, in fact, filled with the subtle menace of the sort of classic sci-fi chords as featured on this very track.
So now you know.
Track 10: Undersea
This onetook me to where creatures with no human name move, live and die unhurried.
Track 11: Segue for Lost Civilisations
Into the presence of faces no longer there: Faces poised to tell you things you simply must, must hear. Their expression?
“Why?! Why won’t you listen?”
Track 12: Gulaga
Into the presence of my mother. (Gulaga is an Aboriginal Dreamtime figure from the South Coast of New South Wales: She took the very greatest care of her youngest son.)
Track 13: Lovers Knot
This track took me to somewhere I very dearly hope to be one day.
(It sounds just like I’ve always imagined…)
Track 14: After the Fall
To my favourite place in the world. Where I am surrounded by gently falling snow.
Track 15: Eagle
Soaring. Very high. Alone, but seeing a very great deal. And very far.
I found listening to and losing myself in this album a highly emotive and enriching experience. In response to it, I can’t apologise for describing a sequence of highly personal and subjective images and atmospheres; Figtree Renaissance II engaged me that personally. Period. Its creator, Richard Lawson, has recently been making inroads in the Australian Film Industry in association with Tropfest filmmakers Mat De Koning and Byron Quandary. I look forward to Lawson’s music featuring prominently on our screens big and small, not to mention on our airwaves.
Long-time drummer of the internationally iconic Lime Spiders, also key mover and shaker of a golden age for the Oz Rock scene, with Figtree Renaissance II Richard Lawson begins anew. As far as beginnings go, it’s a stunner.
On the front cover of this album we have one of the most famous ‘beginnings’ of all time, the Birth of Venus. In my opinion, the motif here of young Venus being born fully and perfectly formed fits Lawson’s work pretty darn well.
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