Jenny M Thomas describes her band’s music as “darker, stranger Australian folk”. She sets out to rework well-known but “unfashionable” songs and transform them into unsettling reminders of her country’s past. Her cool, understated vocals are backed by her own violin and piano work, with backing from drums, bass, a string quartet and sudden bursts of harmony vocals from her band. She provides new settings for the traditional Female Transport, a horror story about female prisoners sent to Australia, and for Eric Bogle’s bleak anti-war song on the Gallipoli campaign, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, while the upbeat Swag On My Shoulder takes a new direction with the inclusion of a line from the angry Treaty by the Indigenous Australian band Yothu Yindi. Even Waltzing Matilda is revived, as a slow, brooding story of impending tragedy. Bush Gothic are currently on a UK tour and well worth checking out.
Bush Gothic: The Natural Selection Australian Songbook review – unsettling folk songs reworked
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop