Those of us who are privy to the talents of this Australian legend approach any new release primed with expectation. Paul Kelly is a prolific songwriter, as his vast back catalogue of superb releases can confirm. His ability to convert universal themes into personal insight has also marked him as a truly gifted poet.
This CD is a song cycle that charts a relationship from the blossoming of new love to the sad remains of broken trust and a doomed future. The gentle touch of the opening track New Found Love turns into the wanderlust of Someone New on track five and the desire for a new, open relationship, experience. The pain of the isolation this causes in the relationship is captured strongly in the wistful delivery of Sometimes My Baby. Perhaps the sense of something lost in this song could have preceded the sense of longing in the earlier track Someone New, which might have given some justification for the need to seek a different experience in pastures new? By song eight the woman has left home, in the early hours, seeking a fresh start. Spurning attempts at reconciliation, she maintains a distance, leaving our cheating male cursing his actions and nursing his little aches and pains with a new found wisdom.
This is a salutary tale of forbidden fruit tasting sweeter and the misguided need to search for something more. A Paul Kelly release is always worth the wait and this song cycle does not disappoint with a mix of insight, reflection, regret and bruised experience running through the song arrangements that are subtly played and delicate in their delivery.
There is a hidden track Mistress Mine which sums up the sad reality of this human failing with the refrain “Mistress Mine, where are you roaming?” Indeed…