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Brett Parlane

Good Man Down – 2001 (Empire Distribution (Australian import))

Reviewed by Sophie Best

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CDs by Brett Parlane

As its name implies, this album by Aussie journeyman singer-songwriter Brent Parlane is all about being a Man. Parlane's distinctively masculine stories read at times like a men's movement self-help book, at others like a personal ad. At their best, they are deeply moving; yet sometimes they feel almost too personal or a little too didactic in their desire to transmit his deeply-held values of decency, responsibility and conventional romantic love.

This is a warts-and-all, 14-track portrait of an adult male in his many roles - lover, father, provider, musician, ex-husband, traveller, worker, soldier. Parlane's autobiographical characters find themselves in suburban kitchens, on union picket lines, or on the road, drunk and stoned, with a second-string rock'n'roll band.The cream of Australian musicianship is brought in; Kasey Chambers' brother Nash produced the album, and Kasey contributes a strangely bloodless harmony vocal; rising star Camille Tenahu puts in a better performance on the swinging honky-tonk number, "Broken Man." Mostly, though, this is introspective, subdued, sober fare. The standout is "Ghost Of A Man," shattering in its honest portrayal of the dull heartbreak and remorse at the end of a marriage. Honest and heartfelt.