Melbourne trio THE PICTURES return with their first new music in 15 years in the form of a new single – available digitally and on limited edition coloured vinyl 7″ – called I Can’t Hold It Back.
The Pictures of course were – are – the singing, songwriting and guitar-slinging vehicle for Davey Lane, best known perhaps to Australian music fans as You Am I’s “newest” member – he joined them in 1999 – and long-time guitarist. No mere side project, The Pictures, who also featured – feature – bass player Luke Thomas and drummer Brett Wolfenden, were known for their classic tunage and their meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy instrumental punch, which was heard on 5 EP’s, 2 albums (including a Triple J Feature Album) and an odds and sods compilation.
The Pictures cut a swathe through the competition early in the new millennium but were hindered by usual music biz rubbish and the fact that “rock” – which had once more or less been synonymous with “pop” – had by the new millennium been reduced to a misunderstood sub-genre, even if it was seeing a brief “revival” of popularity at the time.
Davey Lane elaborates: “I was burned out and, in hindsight, incredibly depressed and anxious as a result of the band’s experiences. Peripheral things like management/label/money problems (hardly a unique story for a rock band) had sucked all the joy out of it, the not-so-peripheral change of lineup with our drummer Brett Wolfenden parting ways with Luke Thomas and myself altered the chemistry considerably. I also felt we never really “fit” anywhere either, becoming known as “early ’00’s rock revival coulda-beens” kinda pigeonholed us – I felt straightjacketed by it and just wanted to try different styles and new things. My creative endeavours have never been in pursuit of a career, or popularity or whatever – don’t get me wrong I want folks to enjoy them of course – but I’ve always felt the urge to make music for my own happiness and preservation of my mental health. When both of those things are removed from the equation it’s time to take a step back.”
Following The Pictures’ initial split, Davey himself has carved a path as a solo artist, releasing a slew of singles, EPs and 3 full length albums to date. He has also become an in-demand musician and collaborator, touring with Crowded House, playing in The Stems, and contributing to recordings for Jimmy Barnes, the late Jim Keays (Masters Apprentices) and Chris Bailey (The Saints), and more recently Robyn Hitchcock, Phil Jamieson and Todd Rundgren, who invited Davey to collaborate with him on his upcoming album Space Force. He of course continues a 24-year run with You Am I, on lead guitar and occasional singing/songwriting duties.
Meanwhile, Luke Thomas continued to hone his songwriting craft with his bands the Deserters and Central Rain, while Brett played with Jim Keays, joined The Casanovas, and continues to drum for Davey’s solo band, as well as much-loved ’60s/early ’70s covers band Thee Marshmallow Overcoat, alongside Davey and fellow in-demand musician and collaborator, Ashley Naylor.
The Pictures mark their return with new single I Can’t Hold It Back, the first taste of an upcoming Pictures LP, due early in 2023 on Cheersquad Records. Restored, rejuvenated and resplendent are Davey, Luke and Brett – the original and classic line-up of The Pictures.
“The time is right,” says Lane, “so why the hell not? We’ve had more than enough time between drinks to shed the baggage and inject fun back into it – we can play and sing better than we ever could back in the day, and we’re coming up with new material that we simply didn’t have the depth of knowledge and experience to produce back then. And we ain’t gettin’ any bloody younger, are we? Who says you can’t teach older dogs newer tricks?!”