James Reyne can’t help himself. In the street, the bar, the hotel foyer, he’s never off. He’s watching the guy in the airport lounge, in the beachfront real estate office; the girl in the sunglasses, the dufus on the TV chat show. It’s a non-stop carnival of human comedy. Or tragedy. Who can tell anymore?
“If there’s any theme to this album it’s people being easily impressed. This silliness that they aspire to, the lives they read about in magazines. Their obsession with trash culture, the bizarre values we seem to live by. It’s all just endlessly and perversely fascinating to me.”
EVERY MAN A KING closes a 30-year circle since James first led Australian Crawl into the front line of the Oz rock boom. His eye and pen grew sharper through a platinumlined solo career, but never have his wit and poignancy been on more consistently solid musical ground than here. “EVERY MAN A KING was a phrase that (radical populist politician) Huey Long used when he was Governor of Louisiana in 1930,”James explains. “If you apply it to this country, and the world at the moment, every man is struggling to be a king and certainly every man is not. A lot of them think they are. And they’re not either.”
Good call. EVERY MAN A KING finds James and his close musical allies of the last decade at the top of their game in every way, from the imaginative co-production and versatile guitar work of Scott Kingman and James to the backing vocals of Tracey Kingman: check out her star turn as the deluded teen angel in
Sammy and Doofus.
From his delicate incisions to the heart to his playful pop sensibility to the increasingly deft wordplay that propels his unmistakable scatting and crooning vocal approach, James Reyne has never sounded more comfortable, more in command, or more insightful about the world he continues to explore in ever finer detail.
“I tried to raise the bar on myself as a lyricist, perhaps be more reflective of what I see and sense going on around me,”he says. “I think the ideas are more thematically in tune with each other than perhaps ever before.”