By Kyle Jackson
#1 Dads is the solo project of Big Scary’s lead man Tom Iansek. Iansek has been known all across Australia for his groundbreaking atmospheric pop production and artistry over the past two decades.
With his latest solo effort Golden Repair, he continues to set the precedent in Australian underground songwriting. The words “beautiful” and “thought-provoking” only touch the surface of the process Iansek employs when he creates music. Golden Repair is an album about how hard recovering from depression can be, but still coming out on the other side “Golden.”
The opener “4bit” finds Iansek at his most vulnerable straight out of the gate. Overlaying pianos with ambient strings that are barely perceived in the background, a scene of beautiful solace is created as Tom sings about losing touch with himself and everyone around him. “Another Day,” follows perfectly as a song about living for another day to try and find the meaning in the monotony. A steady rhythm provides the listener with a clear message, and Iansek’s lyrical delivery is the best it’s ever been.
“Freedom Fighter,” follows as a song helping Iansek’s character lift himself out of drought and to continue fighting. Patience is a theme that lines the chorus as something that we should all remember when our anxiety takes over. Thinking too much can cause problems, and that is given to the listener as a clear and concise message once again. “Run,” is a track that warns of the danger of always running from problems, concluding with the resolution to never run again.
Perhaps the largest turning point in the record is the next track, “Orion.” The realization that everything is going to be alright is powerful. The track gets louder and louder throughout with new instruments joining in until there is an entire ensemble of guitars, drums and even whistling.
Following the epiphany is the more somber solo piano track “Patience.” Warm piano is crept on with moments of flat notes to add mystery to the peaceful nature of the track. It sort of reminded me of Minecraft in a way for those that know that music well.
“Twice a Fool,” is about finding new love and the warmth of meeting someone new. Iansek manages to work in country influences while still maintaining dream pop energy.
Driving through a desert to talk about the future offers a lot of time to reflect, and that is shown perfectly in the song’s length as well as the steady beat that maintains itself throughout the entire track. The closer “Elizabeth,” is an open-ended song about starting back at the beginning of everything, hoping that things will work this time around. The tone is similar to the first track alluding to this idea.
As a concept album, Golden Repair does a beautiful job of telling one story all the way through, and stands as a testament to artistic songwriting that can sometimes be forgotten in the fast-paced nature of today’s industry. Iansek deserves high praise for continuing to invent new ideas for the dream pop genre, and continues to push the boundaries beyond himself to his record label “Pieter Sounds.” I highly recommend any of his work, and anticipate what comes next.
Best Track: “Orion”