If you turn left off the Pacific Highway south of Sydney and take the old road to Wollongong, you’re in for a surprise. If it isn’t the striking Pacific Ocean that grabs you from the left, it’s the Great Dividing Range to the right that appears to be strangling the coast. It overhangs so much that a multimillion-dollar bridge had to be built out over the sea before another car was destroyed by torrents of rocks from the mountain above.
Nestled into this coastline are a number of small suburbs, one of the landmark suburbs being Austinmer. Home to an iconic railway station, some of the best bathing pools in the area and of course Moore Street. Moore Street might look like any other street in any other coastal town but look a little closer and it suggests bohemia. Like an Australian version of Venice Beach minus the people and all the bullshit. It has four shops – one a bead shop. I am sure you now catch my drift.
Some of the members of Shining Bird call Moore Street home. It was here that the collective of musicians, draftsman, scholars and bodyboarders, got together. They shared the same love of the sea, Australian cinema, Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue LP and the great Australian poet Henry Lawson. Their first meetings were at an infamous local coffee shop. Infamous for a chef with a ‘Soup Nazi’ style temperament!
Shining Bird was formed by Russell Webster and Dane Taylor many summers ago. After releasing 2012’s Shade of the Sea EP, Russell’s younger brother Alastair came on board to record the band’s debut LP Leisure Coast. Rounding out the band are Nathan ‘Strat’ Stratton, Riccardo Quirke and James Kates who perform both on the record and in the live arena. Production was handled by Russell and songwriting split between Russell, Dane and Alastair. Most of the album was recorded out of Russell’s home studio with the odd trip up to 301 for some multiple vocal tracking.
From the opening track Terra Nullius to the closing Last Wave, there’s something quintessentially Australian about the music. While the album is a nod to great Australian songwriters past, Shining Bird forge ahead with their own sound. Perhaps it comes from the psychedelic and otherworldly samples, perhaps it’s the cinematic themes that come from the band’s love of film. Who knows. Either way sit down, relax and enjoy.
See the The Shining Bird at the Treehouse on Belongil – Wednesday September 11.
Find this and many other great gigs in Echonetdaily’s North Coast Gig Guide.