Chris While and Julie Matthews – Revolution Calls

Album Review | Fat Cat Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

Celebrating 25 years together as one of the country’s foremost music duos, Chris While and Julie Matthews show no signs of slowing down. Their songs have taken them all around the world several times, building a strong following along the way. They smile when there’s nothing to smile about, they laugh at themselves and the world around them and they cry when things go horribly pear-shaped. Chris and Julie are not just a singing group, they’re an institution. Oh yes, we’ve had Shakespeare’s Sister, Pepsi and Shirlie, Mel and Kim, but these two are the real deal!

Chris and Julie have been accused of being too polished and not rough enough around the edges, but what’s wrong with getting it right? The songs on Revolution Calls are treated to sumptuous arrangements throughout, from the hard driving title song, so vividly captured in Bryan ‘Brysy’ Ledgard’s cover design, through to Julie’s dreamy “Stardust”, each song in between a showcase of their intuitive craftsmanship. With the songwriting democratically shared, the songs dovetail together so well, it’s often difficult to tell which one’s at the helm and which one’s navigating. It’s a partnership of a vessel very much on course. If Julie takes care of the political angle, venting on those responsible for the mess we’re all in “Shake the Money Tree” or our collective irresponsibility when it comes to our dismissive attitude towards ecology “Landfill”, then Chris provides some of the tender moments in the beautiful “Two Halves Together”, a song based around the true story of a friend who moves his house from the suburbs to the coast, to get a better view from his window and “Long Lost Friend”, tenderly meditating on losing touch, which we all unfortunately do through nothing more than life getting in the way.

Julie addresses her concerns through her pen, issues that shouldn’t be issues in a perfect world, with “Coming Out” being foremost among them. This is where Chris and Julie excel, in their refusal to dilly-dally and get to the point, yet in such an eloquent and tender way. It hasn’t been a good year for the two women, both losing friends and Julie losing her mum, all coming at an already grim time in everyone’s life and “Black Dog” demonstrates that having friends around might just allow us to see through the darkness. Revolution Calls once again shows us a musical partnership that can deliver on their promise, something our politicians fail to do over and over again, whilst driving home their message with exquisite harmonies and memorable melodies.

Choice Track: “Revolution Calls” (NSV 486)