Too Much Water In The Boat
Silver Stamp Records
That Charles Jenkins is in possession of a dry sense of humour is evidenced by giving the surf instrumental that opens his new album the title The Prime Minister Is Missing; that Charles Jenkins still possesses the razor sharp songwriting skills he’s exhibited for the past 30 years is borne out by the remainder of Too Much Water In The Boat.
The album thrives on an aquatic theme: rivers, inland seas, islands, boats, even (at a pinch) the Snowy Mountain hydro-electric scheme. On a musical level, there’s much to enjoy and celebrate on the album: The Whale Song is dirty rock’n’roll washed through with a wry pop sensibility, 7 Creeks (The Crossdresser Steve Hart) is Anglo-Celtic folk transplanted into the modern age (and who knows with what level of historical accuracy) and Sweet Mildura pays tribute to the city in which Jenkins grew up.
Off the Tip Of The Peloponnese is the sort of pop rock track that, in an ideal world free of specious commercial imperatives, would be top of the charts; The Barrel Song is acoustic whimsy and a lesson for any aspiring songwriter. Christmas Island is haunting; a well-judged reminder of the oppressive conditions of that remote location to which this country has banished its moral responsibility. If Across The Inland Sea isn’t one of the best songs released this year, then someone has got it wrong.