The

Mick

Sinclair

Archive

Do Re Mi

March

1986

NME

album review

 
 
DOMESTIC HARMONY

Do Re Mi

DO RE MI deal in tension. The various brands of tension which afflict contemporary life and those who live it. Their songs are acidic commentaries on the conflicts, contradictions and assorted mental discomforts to be found in the political and emotional issues of our times. This doesn't mean they merely sing about things. What they do is to establish a continuity of expression which starts at the lyric an runs into the whole musical structure, culminating in a unique set of multi-faceted observations.

This skill is demonstrated in 'Man Overboard', once a single and number one hit in their native Australia. In it, Deborah Conway's singing dips and shifts from a whisper to a roar while the instrumentation builds brooding simmer to frame the lyrical vitriol. The words are a quite naked description of the traps and trappings of inter-personal relationships. It's probably the only record to top the charts anywhere ever without a chorus!

Several reviewers at the time of its release here focused on the line 'your pubic hairs are on my pillow' and banished the item to the realms of trite sensationalism. In so doing they missed the harder "I'm sick and tired of this position" and general uncool blatantness which DRM instil into their work.

Because DRM are uncool. They have not mask of falsehood, no connection to any movement or 'style 'or particular type of trouser (although I dare say at some stage of their lives they've all worn trousers).

One gets the welcome impression that they are a gang of four who's prime motivation is to use the group as a vehicle to probe an examine the topics which interest and concern them.

All this – in these days of vinyl overload and He Who Shouts Loudest Gets Heard Longest – is a trifle heady. It's easy to miss DRM's subtle power. My initial hearing of both 'Man Overboard' and this LP left me unmoved. I've learned better.

Of course, they sometimes flop. Slip a gear, loose their dragon's breath and end up with three tracks of apparently directionless studiocraft. Conveniently these are gathered together at the end of side two. Apply razor blade to record like so ...

It'd be overdoing things to claim the intrigues of DRM's two girls and two boys are a microcosm of the wider world. Suffice to say 'Domestic Harmony' is a very good record. And its title is very ironic.

 

mick sinclair

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