Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos


Too Much Water On The Boat

Silver Stamp Records/Public Bookings


They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Or perhaps it’s just that not enough people buy ‘em. Regardless, it’s been a long time since tunes such this – expansive, playfully but un-ironically beholden to the conventions of genre and song craft – monopolised the mainstream.

The stage is set by the opening triumvirate of The Prime Minister Is Missing, a minor key surf rock belter, the swaggering Britpop of The Whale Song and the jaunty country of 7 Creeks (a fiddle led tale of a certain Kelly gang member and his rumoured transvestism). The peak of the albums good qualities may be Sweet Mildura, a rueful and laconic Dylanesque ballad where each chord change is just so, just perfect.

If a record like Too Much Water On The Boat was going to change your life, most likely you’ve already discovered that record elsewhere. But if all Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos achieve is to inspire a little nostalgia for an era when an ear for a chorus and a great record collection got you noticed, I suspect they wouldn’t mind.