The Doomed Bird of Providence - Through the Streets of Albany
Through the Streets of Albany By The Doomed Bird of
Providence, from the album Blind Mouths Eat
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A film by Paul Dawson
Blind Mouths Eat is the 2nd album by The Doomed Bird of
Providence. Continuing an exploration into the darkest regions of
Australian colonial history the album takes the style and content
of their first long player (Will Ever Pray) into a more violent,
death ridden landscape supported by a more eclectic and
experimental approach to song writing, and featuring an extended
line-up including Katie English aka Isnaj Dui.
Thematically the album is broken into three parts with an
overarching theme of helplessness in the face of terror and
The first five songs loosely explore the sealers of Kangaroo
Island. Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, became a
refuge for escaped convicts and jumped-ship seamen who were able to
generate a subsistence through the selling of seal skins at a time
when the seal population was in abundance. However they were unable
to survive in the landscape of a sparse, windblown and isolated
island without relying on those who had refined survival skills
tailored to that area. As a result the sealers abducted indigenous
women and their children from neighbouring islands and the South
Australian coast. The abductions and the subsequent treatment of
those abducted was uniformly brutal and cruel. Often attacking a
tribe and taking all females, these groups would gradually die
The next three songs are based on a locally published diary
of a woman in the late 19th century. The diary discusses little but
familiar goings on around her town (local events, family, ships
that have arrived). At a point in the diary however she mentions
waking up in the morning having coughed up blood throughout the
night. In addition to this she recalls a dream she had that night
of walking through a town street in a funeral march to the cemetery
where a local was to be buried. The diary itself is punctuated with
increasing consultations with the doctor then finishes abruptly.
The woman had been suffering the symptoms of tuberculosis and had
The last song is an instrumental that runs for almost 19
minutes. Based on one Australia’s worst ever natural disasters. The
category 5 Cyclone Mahina took place in 1899 killing over 400
people. The track attempts to evoke the disaster and it’s aftermath
where amongst other things dolphins were found strewn on 50 foot
cliffs on Flinders Island.
The first edition of Blind Mouths Eat is limited to 250
copies, and comes with additional exclusive artwork by Peter
The album will be followed in December by an EP from Kemper
Norton, transporting Blind Mouths Eat to the south west in a way
only Kemper Norton can do. This also pre-empts more Kemper Norton
action on F&F in 2014.
Doomed Bird will be touring in November and in the spring.
For current dates please see doomedbird.com.
The Doomed Bird of Providence recently contributed an EP to
the Collision/Detection series (
www.ldwr.net), alongside a host
of artists including Hong Kong in the 60s, Kemper Norton,
Psychological Strategy Board (Jonny Mugwump and Time Attendant) and
Isnaj Dui (now also a full member of Doomed Bird).