Melbourne post-punk singer/ songwriter/ guitarist and theatre composer and sound designer Peter Farnan has returned with his new album Home.
Peter Farnan is a man who has seen music from all sides and maintained a creative career that has taken him from the avant garde to the mainstream and into the arts and academia. Whilst best known for his work as guitarist, songwriter and co-founder of multi-platinum ‘80s/90s group Boom Crash Opera, Farnan’s working life in music dates back to post-punk pop outfit Serious Young Insects, who shared the hallowed stages of St Kilda’s Crystal Ballroom with the likes of The Models, The Ears and a nascent Hunters & Collectors. In recent decades he has worked internationally in theatre and film as a composer and sound designer. He has also researched modern song composition and teaches sound design at Melbourne University, and he has written about music for publications like The Conversation, and also a piece about his Ballroom days in David Nichols and Sophie Perillo’s 2020 collection Urban Australia and Post-Punk: Exploring Dogs In Space. His previous release was the 2017 collaborative project entitled Pesky Bones, Vol One which featured multiple vocalists singing his songs and productions, including Paul Kelly, Deborah Conway, Tim Rogers, Rebecca Barnard, Sean Kelly and Charles Jenkins.
Home sees Farnan returning to his art-pop roots with music that is idiosyncratic and personal, and which is some ways echoes some of the artists – The Beatles, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, XTC – who first inspired the musical life he has led.
Peter has created a mini-YouTube documentary explaining the album and where it came from; check that out here:
Peter released his first solo album, Maybe This Is Normal, in 2009, and in 2017, a collaborative project entitled Pesky Bones, Vol One which featured multiple vocalists singing his songs and productions, including Paul Kelly, Deborah Conway, Tim Rogers, Rebecca Barnard, Sean Kelly and Charles Jenkins.
Five years later, and over forty years into a diverse and highly productive career in music, Peter has now delivered his second, and perhaps most personal solo work. These are the songs of a mature performer with lyrical concerns to match, who has carried his edgy musical sensibility through the years.
“My new album attempts to combine the personal and the political in an art-pop frame,” says Peter. “I love pop; ‘pop’ in its purest sense – a tight form that strives to communicate, meaningfully, with infectious energy and imagination.
“I love the brevity, compression and economy of the pop song form. When it’s effective it can infect the listener with complex feelings and ideas. I want to set off truth bombs.
“The songs on Home wrestle with the passing of time, buried histories, community, political populism, pernicious religion, the end of the world, the end of the street, the start of something special, mortality and blissful release. They are both reassuring and slightly unsettling, humorous and dark.
“My partner and daughters sing throughout; a sweet, ghostly choir, they are sometimes reassuring, sometimes disturbing. My former bandmate Richard Pleasance makes a brilliant contribution to ‘As The River Flows’, playing guitars, cello, bass and unsettling noises. Elsewhere my oldest daughter forms a mini orchestra on viola and violin. Drums are supplied by stalwart Melbourne drummer Ben Wiesner (ex The Audreys) and up and coming genius/talent, Soren Maryasin. Otherwise I play all instruments and produce.”
With the release of Home, Peter Farnan will next take his new work on the road, opening some shows later this month for old pals The Models in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Album launches have yet to be organised, but they will come, like Home itself, all in good time. Stay tuned.
CATCH PETER FARNAN LIVE
Saturday October 22: The Bridge Hotel Balmain (with Models)
Sunday October 23: The Zoo Brisbane (with Models)
Sunday October 30 (matinee): The Corner Hotel (with Models)
Friday November 25: Open Studio (with Rebecca Barnard)