There are timeless, musical universals we can connect with and Near Myth’s ‘Idiot Mystic’ LP recently launched at the Workers Club was one of those undisputed listening experiences.
Vocalist/songwriter Marcus Teague cuts a Brian Ferry-esk stature and sings with offhand liberalism. Teague places the listener into the imagined world of each song, “this next song’s about being an extra in a Shyamalan film ‘The Village’ . . . seeing a picture of an aeroplane for the first time and getting a text message from a phone that you didn’t know was in the pocket of your Amish vest.” The audience hangs on every word.
The best bits of the launch were the way songs made me feel. ‘Evening light’ is like hugging warmly then swallowing coco impregnated with whipped cream and booze.
‘I Lummox’ is one big temptation to the ears. Accessing this sound as a whole, I was struck by how integrated each constituent musical part was. My ears opened effortlessly in recognition of craftsmanship, comprehensible patterns and at the same time plenty of novelty to reveal imagined, indeterminate, far off car parks in Frankston.
With a canopy of accents that cannot be excluded and a rib-sticking riff hinting at Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Big Love,’ even to the skeptic, ‘We can have a house (that’s bigger than we need)’ resolves itself like an epigram in such a way as to provoke belief.
There were exceptional, ambient excursions and extensions of songs too. ‘Am I dead’ does not prod, rather its vaguely Aphex twin-ish, electronic sample bits, whirring and lingering like an air-conditioner, spiked a kind of dream REM-like state. Like a hovering insect descending in the silent rain, its clean sound spoke for itself without removing the band from the live process. Instead, electronic textures and pulses amplified a high-flying counter point to deeply satisfying beats, melodic progressions and primal bass lines.
Teague is deep as a well. Besides lyrics that are revelatory, like pedestals holding up paintings, seeing Near Myth live is paramount, because reminiscent of a 21 Century piped-piper-troubadour, Teague leads the audience on a literary theatrical interlude between songs. Immersed in an affectionate vision of ordinariness which makes way for eccentric absurdity – you and the cultural black holes of the suburbs are his muse:
“ . . .The text message from the phone is from a friend in Ringwood. And so one night, you dig a hole under the fence and you start walking in the direction of [the]strongest signal on your phone and soon you see a large man in the park whose flying a drone and you say “Ringwood?” And he just points and you can’t see his eyes behind his sunglasses. . . .”
Like movements to each song, Teague casts a path from song to song holding us by distance makers that provide clues on the pilgrimage of spirit in search of treasure albeit from the Frankston RSL. In the eleventh hour, even idiot mystics can bring order to chaos or at least demand your attention. This album does both.