Album Review: Tinpan Orange ‘Love Is A Dog’
Melbourne trio Tinpan Orange are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year with the release of their fifth album ‘Love Is A Dog’. With Emily Lubitz’s velvet smooth vocals, her brother Jesse on guitar, and Alex Burkoy tickling mandolin, guitar and violin, the 3-piece are oft described as Australia’s indie-folk darlings.
Since 2006, tenderly crafting roots music has been central to the band’s identity. Apart from releasing four acclaimed albums they’ve also collaborated with The Cat Empire’s Harry Angus and Ollie McGill and heralded praise from renowned Australian acts Clare Bowditch and Husky.
“The shimmering, ethereal tone of Emily’s vocals, empty house-type piano echo, and gentle acoustic strumming are easy on the ears but heavy of heart.”
Getting ‘Love Is A Dog’ off the ground was a brilliant example of the wonders of crowd funding. Via Pozible, Tinpan Orange’s gypsy wagon was able to keep on moving. Jesse said, “We’re going to release this album no matter what, but we’d love for you, our fans, to be involved”. Exceeding their pledged amount of $15,000, ‘Love Is A Dog’ was made ‘pozible’ by its fans and released to them last week.
Stand-out tracks from the album include Rich Man and Cities of Gold. The shimmering, ethereal tone of Emily’s vocals, empty house-type piano echo, and gentle acoustic strumming are easy on the ears but heavy of heart. Mixed by Portland’s “king of folk” Adam Selzer (M.Ward, Jolie Holland, Joanna Newsom), the album’s production is a sensitive blend of intricate melody and eclectic instrumentation.
An attempt at minimalist lyric writing has been made toward the latter part of ‘Love Is A Dog’. Diary relies heavily on the loops and folds of Emily’s voice, while Hear From Me is a fun but repetitive knee-slapper. ‘Love Is A Dog’ culminates in an energetic, warm hug of a tune, Leopard. Calling for listeners to run with their dreams and enjoy what comes and what goes, the final track is perhaps a reflection of the band itself.
“Calling for listeners to run with their dreams and enjoy what comes and what goes, the final track is perhaps a reflection of the band itself.”
Tinpan Orange’s approach to lyricism and melody in this, their fifth album, is imaginative, tender, and traditionally folk. Fantasies of dashing rich men, heroic cowboys and mysterious behaviour are woven sleepily through ‘Love Is A Dog’, the imaginings of some curious country girl.
The brooding orchestra sound and choral performances seem the next natural step for the Melbourne trio. Having worked solidly for two years on the writing and production of “Love Is A Dog”, there is a noticeable thoroughness to the album.
Jesse said, “the thing is we love to make music and over the years we have built a pretty serious and nourishing relationship with our fans. It’s a pretty solid two-way stream where we make the music and play it live and our fans come and see us play and buy our music. And then we start all over again”.
It seems the cycle of life is central to the band’s creative process. And to celebrate the birth of this album, the folk family will hit the road next week for an Australian tour; beginning in Wishram Western Australia and closing in Adelaide in early June. Besides their gypsy tones, Tinpan Orange’s new line of merchandise and vinyl will be on offer; a courtesy of the crowd funding fans, and a testament to their presence as Australia’s indie-folk darlings.
Tinpan Orange Live Dates
FRI 15 APRIL
Fairbridge Folk Festival, Wishram
FRI 29 APRIL
The Grand Poobah, West Hobart
SUN 1 MAY
Fresh on Charles, Launceston
SAT 7 MAY
Toff in Town, Melbourne
SAT 14 MAY
Civic Hall, Mullumbimby
SUN 15 MAY
The Old Museum, Bowen Hills
FRI 20 MAY
The Vanguard, Newtown
FRI 27 MAY
The Workers Club, Geelong
SAT 28 MAY
The Railway Club, Darwin
SAT 4 JUNE
Fly By Night Musicians Club, Fremantle
SUN 5 JUNE
The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide
Get Tickets HERE