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My Friend The Chocolate Cake
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ALBUM OF THE WEEK - 20/6/2002
My Friend The Chocolate Cake - Curious

Whatever entity he decides to go with at any particular point in his music, David Bridie remains one of the true individualists and innovators of Australian music. Blessed with both a vocal and piano sound you can pick as his immediately he's primarily a collaborator, always surrounding himself with and inviting the contribution of others. That's what's made his path in music so interesting to follow, forever shifting ground, but never too dramatically not to take us with him, and always with great integrity and warmth at the heart of it. We haven't heard My Friend The Chocolate Cake on record for six years. Probably even David thought that name was behind him, put to respectful rest like Not Drowning Waving while both stood for something fine and meaningful. In the beginning MFTCC was a joyous respite from the dense, brooding NDW. David's recent solo album 'Freedom of Choice' took the NDW adventure another dimension, clearly leaving in its wake fertile ground for Chocolate Cake to explore with its trademark organic sounds, dominated by Helen Mountford's cello. The lines between David Bridie's musical output are wonderfully blurred, not schizophrenic, but parts of a well-defined whole viewed from different directions. Chocolate Cake has grown over the journey if its four albums, making room for David's State Of The Nation songs - this time 'I Guess It Don't Get Much Better Than This' ("This little country it's little again") - and David's on-going commitment to the culture and politics of Papua New Guinea - 'Kelly Kwalik Country'. The pop sense Not Drowning Waving unearthed with the 'Circus' album takes flight again in 'Leave' and 'I Like It Like This'. But of course MFTCC isn't a one man band. It works because its instrumentation is such rich territory for David Bridie's soulfulness, and because he is such a strong foil for the rest of the band to play with. Instrumentals like 'Weep', The Kilana Stringband Song' and 'The Boat Song' positively glow in their time in the spotlight. (Blunt/EMI)

Ed Nimmervoll

June 20, 2002