Oliver Mann: The Possum Wakes at Night
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CD / Digital
Design by Mark Gowing
Melbourne's Oliver Mann's background as an artist began in opera and classical music While he now sings with the Victorian Opera, he also spent many years home-recording his unique songs then playing live in pubs and telling long delightful tales to go with them. Combine a love of Elvis Presley, golden-era musicals and early blues and you have in Oliver a vision pushing past the point of merely eccentric into the shiningly enigmatic. The Possum Wakes At Night is a vast yet intimately detailed work, both in sound and feeling. Oliver’s voice can shoot from a booming baritone to a soprano with an elasticity that plays into the arrangements of his songs, shaping their folkish hue into boundless realms with a whimsical zeal. It’s a place to imagine drums that sound like fireworks, classic rock and classical timbres taking flight together, operatic lament couched in blues feeling and gospel jigs to light up any lounge room. Appearing on the album are The Dirty Three’s Jim White, Karl Scullin (the man behind Kes and Kes Band), harpsichord player David O’Brien and Grand Salvo, otherwise known as Paddy Mann and also Oliver’s brother. No less than three soprano singers – Fiona Clarke, Monica Sonand and Jordina Howe - accompany Oliver throughout as well, who aside from his own keening voice, fluidly moves from guitar to harmonica and percussion in pursuit of a widescreen pop vision unlike any other. The Possum Wakes At Night, with its awestruck, uplifting atmosphere is an album simply altogether infectious - this is a unique chronicling of pure joy.