Brian Henry Hooper – Trouble

January 01, 1970



Brian Henry Hooper held down the bottom in the background of
Australian cult rockers the Beasts of Bourbon and Kim Salmon & the
Surrealists, but with the former dissolved for the billionth time and the
latter using a different rhythm section, he has time to concentrate on his solo
career, of which Trouble is the third
example. In a voice reminiscent of David Bowie at his most naked and backed by
straightforward guitar-and-piano based rock (provided in part by
producer/multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey, late of the Bad Seeds), Hooper
croons a series of ballads and midtempo rockers reflecting the aftermath of a
hard-wrought lifestyle and attempts to get right with those who suffered along
the way.


Ambling down his thematic road, Hooper presents the songs in
a loose order, beginning with “Trouble,” in which he admits “I’ve known
trouble/Lived with it so long,” and ending with “I Get Up Again,” proclaiming
“But when good morning hits the wall/I know just what to do.” But he doesn’t
make it easy for the audience – the former tune is one of the prettiest on the
record, while the latter is by far the most dissonant and ugly. There’s the
potential here to wallow in decadence and regret – on the page it’s hard to
read lines like “It must make you sad to see me wasting away” and “I got you
for free/But I paid for it each time/What the hell was I thinking?” without
rolling one’s eyes. But Hooper is so calm and matter-of-fact about the pain, so
deft at avoiding histrionics or solipsism, that he can sing “In the bottom
drawer you’ll find/All my secrets all my crimes/Everything that makes me who I
was” in “Take My Money” without coming across as self-absorbed in the least.
When he asserts “I’m getting stronger every day” in “Stronger,” it’s not a
clichéd affirmation, but a sincere declaration of intent. Ever wondered what
the phrase wasted elegance really
means? Trouble is it.


DOWNLOAD: “Wasting Away,” “Stronger,” “What the Hell Was I

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