Daytime & The Dark

$20

More by accident than design, DAYTIME AND THE DARK is top-heavy with songs Mark thought he'd left behind, songs reborn by the immediacy of acoustic performance and the unpredictable prism of hindsight.

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"I spy your humble home, see the tea towels fly

In a blinding flash I see the years go by

Memories twisted around somebody's finger

Behind me now, oh but I still remember."

- Do You See What I See?

After three solo albums of evolving sophistication, Hunters & Collectors are history for Mark Seymour. And funnily enough, that's exactly what they are to the majority of Australians for whom Throw Your Arms Around Me and Holy Grail endure, like tea towels on a Hill's Hoist, as flags on the cultural landscape.

More by accident than design, DAYTIME AND THE DARK is top-heavy with songs Mark thought he'd left behind, songs reborn by the immediacy of acoustic performance and the unpredictable prism of hindsight.

"With all respect to Hunters & Collectors, quite a few of these songs work better here than they did originally," he says. "With Head Above Water and When the River Runs Dry, the whole emotion changed as a result of the arrangements. I found myself in a different landscape and singing quite differently."

In plain fact, Mark has never sung better in his life, from the harmonic folk edifice of Radio Death Song to the propulsive rap reincarnation of The Slab. With the barest accompaniment, his voice and lyrics – an endlessly redrafted and refined commentary on the Australian urban identity – steal the spotlight.

"In the studio, you really need to bring something to the microphone that's odd or spontaneous. Stole My Thunder just came from nowhere cause it's not a song I play. Ready To Go I play all the time, but it translated really well on the day. It was mostly about what happened in here," he says, tapping his chest.

In the Kitchen Of A Perfect Home is another current song that found its definitive expression via spontaneity. Nearly 20 years older, What's A Few Men reiterates its contemporary relevance with an even more stark and sorrowful tone.

Of the two new tunes, Good Ol' Boys is a deeply affecting case of reflection and closure for Mark. Dream You Had Last Night is the first taste of a potentially fruitful collaboration with his sister, Hilary Seymour, The skill and perspective imparted by untold experience elevates each to the stature of his best work.

"20 years ago I couldn't have done this," he says. "Technically, I was incapable of going into a studio and being on top of the song like this, to invade the microphone really aggressively. It's definitely made me more confident for the future. It's made me realise, if I keep it simple and honest, I can do what I like."

Daytime & The Dark by Mark Seymour