Hugo Race Fatalists - 24 Hours To Nowhere album review

Heartache and gumbo from down under.

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Something of a restless spirit, ex-Bad Seed Hugo Race’s prolific output as an artist, producer and even actor has always been informed by a melancholic wanderlust and a poet’s eye.

Sharp-edged torch songs jostle with train-track shuffles all bathed in a shady ambience redolent of Angelo Badalamenti’s darker corners. Vocally, his register is nearer Mark Lanegan, or Roger Waters and Leonard Cohen’s near-spoken moments – there’s a raspy gravitas to such lines as ‘I’m hypnotised, my love metastasized’, cancer/love metaphors belonging to a small club.

At times dreamlike, there’s an indie cinematic vibe throughout: Johnny Cash on the Lost Highway (Lynch’s that is, not Bon Jovi’s). Elegant lyricism and wistful insight adds weight to some finely crafted songwriting and if Australiana is a genre, this is it.