The Blackeyed Susans have released their first album of new material in over a decade.
‘Close Your Eyes And See' is a record bassist and songwriter Phil Kakulas describes as an homage to the weird and wonderful world we live in. “The world throws so much at you that you have to throw something back,” Phil says.
“Have a read of the paper or watch the TV and there’s some pretty awful things being done at the moment. But at the same time you can’t help but marvel at all the beauty. We as people are a combination of opposing impulses and I like music that reflects that.
“I don’t think of people as good or bad; we all make choices about the kind of people we want to be. How do you be a good person in a bad world or a bad person in a good world? We all face this dilemma. The album reflects that kind of thinking.”
Released in March, The Blackeyed Susans have already launched the album with shows in Melbourne and Hobart. Phil says the response has already been encouraging. “It’s been really positive and pleasing,” he says.
“I felt pretty confident that it was going to be worth the wait and that we had something to say. Through the making of [the album], it felt easy and felt good, so I’m really pleased with how it’s been received.”
Formed in Perth in 1989, The Blackeyed Susans brought together members from bands such as Martha’s Vineyard and The Triffids. Their band name comes from a song by The Triffids, ‘Blackeyed Susan’. Their last studio album, ‘Shangri-La’, was released in 2003 and in 2009 they brought out a best-of retrospective entitled ‘Reveal Yourself’ as the first project undertaken by the reformed group.
The first single from ‘Close Your Eyes And See’ is ‘Dream On’, which captures the romantic melancholy of both the album’s overarching theme of hope and keeping your dreams alive during times of darkness. “Whether in the end that hope is misplaced, only time will tell,” Phil says, “but you’re nothing without it, are you?
“You’ve got to keep those dreams alive and that’s a romantic notion in many ways, and we don’t shy away from that kind of romantic sensibility or aesthetic.”
The Blackeyed Susans will tour throughout the country from May to July and aside from the frustration of ploughing through a 25-year back catalogue of songs to create a setlist, Phil says the shows have been like coming home. “It’s been great to play the new stuff live and we’ve been doing I guess what you’d call a best-of from our back catalogue which is pretty sizeable.
“It’s difficult sometimes deciding what to leave in or leave out, but we’re guided to some extent by people telling us what they’d like to hear. We’ve been playing together for so long, it’s like dancing; you learn how people move and how to move together. It’s a lot of fun playing live.”
The Blackeyed Susans Shows
Fri 19 May - Lizotte's Restaurant (Newcastle)
20-21 May - Leadbelly (Sydney)
Fri 26 May - Mojos (Fremantle)
Sat 27 May - Badlands (Perth)
9-10 Jun - Bearded Lady (Brisbane) Fri 23 Jun – NGV Friday Nights (Melbourne)29-30 Jul - The Wheatsheaf Hotel (Adelaide)