Friday, 25 June 2010

The Good Ship Release Debut Album + Announce East Coast Tour

Some bands come along that are family-friendly; you can buy their CDs as presents for your mother, play their music in shopping centres, or as background music at all-ages family get-togethers. The Good Ship are NOT that band.

Drawing inspiration from fellow denizens of the deep like Nick Cave, The Decemberists and The Pogues, The Good Ship’s tunes do somewhat explore the seedier side of humanity somewhat.

The Good Ship- 'These are a few of my favorite flings by HeapsaWill

For the success that The Good Ship has so far garnered, it’s still a strikingly new vessel. Seeded when John Meyer and Daz Gray caught up one night back in 2009, bitching and moaning about the state of their own respective bands at the time. As the night wore on they started swapping songs and soon realised they had a whole album’s worth of material. They gathered together a motley collection of musicians, and the rest is a history still being written.

No one realized it would happen quite so quickly though. With a devastating live show, risqué lyrics and more ‘in-your-end-o’ than innuendo, the band quickly gained punters’ attention, but it was the rich layers of folk, rock, country and pop textures that kept people coming back for more. After little more than a year, they’re already filling venues right across the east coast.

The Good Ship’s calling card has been a willingness to lyrically engage themselves in not oft covered subject matter, coupled with a pop sensibility strewn across blindingly infectious sing along melodies.

But there’s a poignant side to The Good Ship that can be missed if taken at face value. There’s a lot here for anyone willing to scratch the surface a little, as without looking past first impressions it’s easy to miss where these songs are really coming from. 18 When You’re 44 for example could be easily perceived as Daz Gray taking a jab at ‘cougars’, and in some ways it certainly is. But as with all good songs, it’s a lot closer to home than that, as he himself explains: “It’s primarily about my Mum. When I was 15 we moved to a small country town in central western NSW called Grenfell. On the few occasions that my Dad was actually working Mum would get tarted up and go to the pub. No one would actually admit to having sex with her but suffice to say, it was known she was up for it & didn’t have any issues with putting out. She was a mother of six after all.”

Another example is the Gray penned track 6000 Cocks which approaches the oldest profession from an interesting angle, as Gray explains: “I’ve worked in a shop for quite a few years, my day job. One of the girls I work with used to work as a prostitute – she’d fill me in with the many stories from her brothel days and one night estimated that she must have seen approximately 8000 penises during her working life, but because she had a lot of repeat customers it was probably actually closer to 6000 different members. She is still a good friend and actually now calls ‘6000 Cocks’ her song, which is quite lovely really.”

The Good Ship is not testosterone-fuelled teenage bawd, the songs are more late-night SBS than internet-porn. Indeed the mature sexual nature of their lyrics has seen The Good Ship harbour as many female fans as male.

So from the profane to the macabre, says Meyer; “unless you’re one of those easily offended wowsers that like to call the ABC to complain about boobies, it might be worth sticking around to explore the deeper side of the Good Ship. You may quite possibly even be a happier human being for it.”

Undulating Tales Of Woe & Intrigue

Featuring 12 “Undulating Tales of Woe and Intrigue,” the Good Ships debut album ‘Avast! Wretched Sea’ hits shelves Monday July 5th through Autumn Recordings. Recorded over a long hot summer with Neil Coombe (John Steel Singers, Go Betweens) and Janie Trevaskis (Wilson Pickers, Texas Tea) it’s a triumph of dark, sweaty heaving beauty, featuring the Good Ship’s trademark blend of sweet melodies and debauched lyrics.

Track one and first single ‘A Harbour Fair’ is already racking up strong radio-play. By now a bit of a ‘theme song’ for the band, it’s a rollicking revelry that tells you everything you need to know about the Good Ship – without the swear words.

Next up, inspired by the much loved classic tune from The Sound of Music, ‘These Are A Few Of My Favourite Flings’ offers a series of vignettes, a perverted laundry list of past sexual exploits. Some of the seedy characters populating the song (apart from the songwriters...) include a tattooed punk, a prim and proper Christian lady, and a transvestite. It may or may not be autobiographical...

‘Sea Monster’ is a dark and stormy ballad that tells the tale of a wayward lad who sells his soul to the forces of evil, sacrificing his crew members in return for future glory and riches. The album takes a sonic left turn with the haunting classical guitar sounds of ‘6000 Cocks’. Telling the true story of a former prostitute, the song hints at the double edged sword of her profession, with the seedy world constantly beckoning her back to its dark attractions.

Elsewhere, ‘Don’t Kiss Me With Your Lips’ is an all-out country hoedown that never fails to get the crowd jumping. In a strange mirroring of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Let’s Get Physical’, it’s a weird kind of love song, with its female character imploring her man to stop being so sweet and lovely, and just give her what she wants.

‘Tavern Song’ is just that: a song for a tavern. It’s the story of a man who just can’t tear himself away from the pub. ‘No Shortage Of Company’ is one of those songs that creeps up on you slowly and works its way in deep. With a soft and haunting jazz club vibe, the song speaks of the conflict between a heart that wants to go one way, but is pulled another by the temptations of the flesh.

Written by the Good Ship’s former accordionist Brett before following his heart to Canada early this year, ‘Bury Me’ is an old style country gospel sing-along, a heart wrenching call and response between a dying man and those that have gone before him.

‘I Can Make Her Laugh’ is perhaps the most melodically gifted track on the album, perfectly encapsulating The Good Ship’s ability to combine sweet sounds with debauched lyrics. In a way the sister track to ‘Don’t Kiss Me With Your Lips’ it’s all about strong women and wimpy guys. The creepy and disturbing track ‘Cut Off My’ creates a Silence of the Lambs vibe as its sadistic tale slowly builds to a devastating crescendo.

The aching ‘Last Song Of The Night’ is the perfect closer. Refined, resolved and offering an antidote to some of the questionable content that precedes, it tells of the lonely and solitary life of the performer.

In all, it’s an album that deals with the topics many have experienced or may be able to relate too in some fashion, without removing the spice that makes life enjoyable.


Live, The Good Ship are a seething maelstrom of decadent musicality, with 8 to 9 members on stage at any one time and a whole heap of archaic instrumentation from mandola, lagerphone, fiddle and trumpet to accordion. This sense of joy and anarchy hasn’t been lost on audiences and after only a year on the scene the band have gathered a substantial loyal following. To celebrate the release of their debut album, The Good Ship are hitting the road this June/July to take their collection of saucy tunes to the nation. Get on board when The Good Ship play:

Saturday June 19 Bald Faced Stag, Sydney NSW
with Charles Jenkins and Jo Meares & the Honeyriders
$12 | 8pm

Friday June 25Queen St Mall, Brisbane QLD
FREE | 7pm

Saturday July 3The Grace Darling Bandroom, Melbourne VIC
with TBA
$10 | 8pm

Sunday July 4The Labour In Vain, Melbourne VIC
FREE | 5pm

Saturday July 10The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
with Rocketsmiths and Inland Sea
$12+bf presale thru OzTix or $15 at the door
Doors at 8pm


“This is firmly in the Weddings Parties model of big combo sea-shanty-cross-drinking-song folk punk, and you get the feeling this Brisbane collective could be the business when in full live flow, despite having been at it for little over a year. Suitably awash with rum and brine.”

Drum Media – ‘A Harbour Fair’ Single Review

“‘A Harbour Fair’ is a rollicking sea shanty that features the words buxom harlot, tavern, maiden, cutthroat and wanton thigh, plus rousing cries from the male chorus. As far as dinner theatre goes, they really kick Gilbert and Sullivan’s arse.,”

Beat Magazine – ‘A Harbour Fair’ Single Review

“Guzzle it while it’s still fresh”

Rave Magazine – ‘A Harbour Fair’ Single Review

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