“Well, it’s intentional in the sense that it’s not an accident, like falling out of bed when you’re trying to look sexy like in Clueless, and landing on a pen and paper and microphone.”
Nicholas Allbrook is discussing the many references to Australiana and national identity in his newly released album Pure Gardiya, a record as honest, intriguing and fantastical as the maker himself.
Enigmatic, vocally captivating, and an eternal embodiment of his craft, the former Tame Impala bassist keeps a busy roster fronting psych-rock outfit POND, performing as one half of Allbrook/Avery (alongside current Tame Impala bassist Cam Avery) and as drummer for Peter Bibby. Pure Gardiya is his sophomore solo album: not devoid of collaboration but undeniably Allbrook – more lyrically assured than ever. “Most actual writing is done alone anyway, but after that I love working on the songs with other folks”, he says. “Making the entire song alone, from conception to mastering, can be efficient and self-satisfying in a kinda ‘gold-sticker look-mum-no-hands’ kinda way. You can also try completely fucked things and no one cringes.”
While the name Pure Gardiya, meaning ‘outsider’, makes reference to the time Allbrook spent living in the Kimberley, the album was recorded during a spell in Melbourne. “My day-to-day life was mainly recording, bookended by lovely walks through cloudy Melbourne with birds and trams and the satisfaction of achieving something good with people I love filling me up.”
Among those people were Melbourne-based musician Evelyn Morris and New Zealand cellist Francesca Mountfort, both of whom assisted Allbrook in recording the album. “It’s easy to sink into bliss with Evelyn and Fran playing their instruments. It was a quick, joyful and, dare I say it, magical experience.”
“I've been recently opening myself up to and reciprocating the love of the people watching me. I don't think I'm being presumptuous; ’cause I swear I can feel it.”