The Whitlams Torch The Moon

The Whitlams might not be well known in Canada, but in their native Australia, they are much more renowned. They’ve been around for about ten years now, and have gone through all kinds of highs (a pile of awards and accolades) and lows (the deaths of two founding members) and have managed to come out the other side to release Torch The Moon, their fifth album. While there isn’t a kangaroo on the CD cover, it is hard to imagine the album coming from anywhere else. There are little lyrical nods to the landscape and folklore, but the main hint comes from the mature, polished pop songs that fellow Antipodeans Crowded House pride themselves on. Five albums in, the band know their way around the studio, and the slick production isn’t the big problem it might have been. Tim Freedman’s songwriting skills really hit their stride at the halfway point with "Royal In The Afternoon” and the piano-driven ballad "Best Work.” There are a couple of weaker songs hidden away towards the end, but that doesn’t lesser the strength of the other songs. Based on Torch The Moon, it is hard to imagine how the Whitlams remained unknown in North America for so long. (Warner)