Hot. Like real hot. I’m talking about sittin’ in only your undershirt and putting your head to the sky and hootin’ but nothing comes out just dry wispy profanities type hot. Victoria. Australia. They got small pots of old, cold gold. And they got Jarrod Quarrel but they call him Lost Animal.
Quarrel started workin the game at the age of sixteen. You can hear it in his songs. They carry with them the weightless baggage of a path struggled long – heavy not with possessions, instead with experience and thick skin – his long, black-grey hair sits up on his shoulders like Merino wool.
Follow him. Feel that heat from the footpath rise up through the bottom of your sneakers. See the sting of the sun bending vapours into mirages, turning white Ford Falcons into Jaguars, their drive-by wafting warm air like waves of hot sand. Watch him walk slow but move fast.
Quarrel is a survivor. 2011’s ‘Ex-Tropical’ still produces the most transcendent perspectives on Australian living in recent musical history. He’s earned his perspective on love, broadcasting messages from the lonely Angels that soar above on the notes of his fragile melodica. They’re just barely out of reach. They’re too close to get a tram, and too far away to walk. So just watch, and listen.
Remember, it’s hot though – so duck out of the sun raining down and into a cold nightclub. Red lights. Or blue lights. Whatever you want. On stage you’ll see a man put his body to work. You’ll see the figure of a six foot street fighter, wiry and shredded – bent over a microphone and sipping on an iced vodka grapefruit. Watch him move swiftly through the dark humour that hides within the iconic, hand-crafted & totemic rhythms of his own production. Listen to the vocal takes that cut sharp with the dry rasp of a gripping stranger.
And believe in the confidence of a world star rapper, boasting not of his achievements but of the time past since his last close encounter with death and misery.
Nervously watch him charm your loved ones. Feel an unease. Remember that time you found a blood filled syringe poking ostrich out of the sand in Papua New Guinea?
But everything’s OK. Watch the light hit his eyes. See love in them. See the whole club now full of paying concert goers. There’s a reason they’re there with you. Feel welcomed by his voice stretched and swaying hypnotically over the tracks. Commanding. Soft. A gentle thing speaking harsh truths. What you’re hearing is real. Feel comfort. Dance. Do the jerk.
But keep your eye on Quarrell – watch him tip toe across the broken glass of human faith with the deftness of Judy Sill. Free of past failures. Lifted by the melodic poetry that exists within him.
Lost Animal is the ultimate Australian voice. Certain and allusive.
And just when you feel like you’ve cornered him, tamed him into your favoured or preferred domain – he disappears behind waves of grass and rock that look like someone decided to halt an ocean and make it land instead. You Yang.
It’s New Year’s Day now. But the hangover is one of those rare ones. It’s dreamy and peaceful.