CD notes to The Outer Void Intrepid Sailor by Gus & Lachlan Franklin, Poptastic Records, Melbourne, 2003

If Haley’s comet comes around every 130 odd years, concept albums about outer space must come around every 30 odd years. Bowie’s SPACE ODDITY traversed the charts in 1969 and 1975, creating its own time-warped re-interpretation of Kubrick’s movie. While the film is a portentous artsy unravelling of the time-space continuum, Bowie’s naïve starstruck projection of himself into Kubrick’s images generated a gorgeously innocent and engaging musical paean to cosmic flotation. The ending of Bowie’s song trips out in scintillating detail that only orchestral strings in a echoic rock track can accomplish.

Flash-forward 30 odd years and you have OVIS. A third-degree reburn of a slew of navel-gazing cosmic-rock expansions, OVIS returns things full-cycle to provide a set of delicately spun songs which shimmer with the televisual silver of moon-suits. Far from a kitsch-retro exercise, OVIS is solid song-writing, refreshingly well-crafted production, eclectic arrangements, and damn good harmonies. The general theme of isolation is not merely there in the words, but in the surges of quietude, lapses of frequency and decays to silence which bracket the songs and provide a beautiful sense of continuity throughout the album. They call it ‘Prog-Pop’ and that’s an apt term for this album that fell to earth.

Text © Philip Brophy. Images © OVIS.