Premiere: Michael Dunstan shares his debut album, In The Grand Scheme
Premiering a day early ahead of its official album launch tonight, the record is a strong case for West Australia's charming indie scene.
Being a music platform that runs out of the depths of Perth, we know how remarkable and wide-ranging West Australia's music scene can be. At the moment, for example, with have acts pushing jangly pop-rock and pop-punk into the national eye via Spacey Jane and Sly Withers respectively, while Perth's long-adored electronic world continues to strive through musicians like ShockOne. Then, there's also the hip-hop world too, a.k.a. a bustling scene full of new talent and life quickly being picked up by Sony Music (in the case of Hoodzy) and Astral People (Arno Faraji) within a matter of months within breaking out.
However, despite how much the Perth live music world has changed and adjusted over the years, one area that stays consistently brilliant is its subtle indie-folk world, whether it be through the genre's leading names - Stella Donnelly's injection of pop hooks to guitar-backed sounds; Carla Geneve's trademark crunch - or through those quickly blossoming into something special, like Jack Davies and his Bush Chooks ensemble. Michael Dunstan is someone who sits somewhere in the middle; his tracks becoming cult-adored - some top over a million plays on streaming - but constantly teetering on the edge of a national explosion like that of some comparables, such as Garrett Kato and Riley Pearce.
If there's something that's going to break him out, however, it'll be his debut album. Premiering today ahead of its full release tomorrow (and its official launch at The Rosemount Hotel tonight), Michael Dunstan's debut album In The Grand Scheme takes the familiar sounds of the Wheatbelt-raised regional musician and throws them into a new light, taking sounds characteristic of the musician - subtle, lyric-rich indie and folk with a certain, soft charm - and twisting it where it needs to be twisted, taking it to territories outside of his discography that showcase the versatility needed to craft Michael Dunstan's name and sound into a special one.
Spanning 14 tracks, In The Grand Scheme is a beautiful release that combines this subtle sound - recorded in the tree-backed world of the Perth Hills - with darker edges that rumble underneath; contrasting plucked-back and somewhat summery guitar melodies and a vocal warmth with lyrics that range from finding a place in the world to anxiety and mental health - the latter represented across much of the album through intimate songwriting and lyricism a touch deeper than it may seem on the first listen.
Take Parallel Universe for example, a "representation of one of the worst experiences" in his life that takes a deeply personal moment - "Written amidst a bout of intense panic attacks, I found myself in a place that I hadn’t been in years. A place where ‘everything appears the same, but you’re a stranger to your own face'," he explains - and brings it to life in a way that feels comforting and nurturing without sweeping the issue under the rug; a reflection of mental health and anxiety that actually feels real, and one that can reach out to a person in need going through the same circumstance.
It's a great album with a lot of depth, so we might just leave it to the record to do the talking from here-on in. Dive into In The Grand Scheme below, and catch him on tour supporting the record over the next few months, all kicking off with the album launch tonight at The Rosemount Hotel. It's a good idea to grab a ticket to this tour, not just because you're helping support a musician amongst the state's most beautiful, but also because $1 from each ticket sold will be donated to Happy Monday, in support of one of the band member's efforts to raise 1 million dollars for a variety of mental health organisations through a 6500km bike ride from Perth to Brisbane.
Thursday 27th February @ Rosemount Hotel Perth, WA
Friday 28th February @ Link Theatre Northam, WA
Saturday 29th February @ Cannery Arts Centre Esperance, WA
Wednesday 4th March @ Beer Garden Brewing Port Lincoln, SA
Thursday 5th March @ Jive Bar Adelaide, SA
Thursday 12th March @ Northcote Social Club Northcote, VIC
Friday 13th March @ The Boardwalk Bendigo, VIC
Saturday 14th March @ Macedon Ranges Music Fest 2020 Gisborne, VIC
Saturday 28th March @ Royal Oak Hotel Launceston, TAS
Thursday 2nd April @ The Factory Floor Marrickville, NSW
Friday 3rd April @ The Baroque Room, Carrington Hotel Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 18th April @ Byron Bay Brewery Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 24th April @ The Solbar Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 25th April @ Milk Factory Kitchen And Bar Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 13th May @ The Basement Belconnen, ACT
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