‘Nothing Ever Gets Lost’ marks a new phase in Claire Birchall’s constantly developing catalogue, her first album with a band since Paper Planes’ self-titled debut in 2008, and amongst her most eclectic collection of songs in over 20 years of recording. It carries Birchall’s signature sonic weight, and couples it with an increased pop sensibility, reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine, but in a truer way a testament to Birchall’s ability to explore the creative possibilities of recording with songs that are often rooted in stripped-back country or soul. The songs tell a story we all know well; the story of a place you either remember or find you still live in. A place where detachment, love, frustration, failure and romance exist at the same time, interweaving. ‘Nothing Ever Gets Lost’ will be released this November by Melbourne’s Night Owl Records (LP) and Off The Hip Records (CD).
When Claire Birchall needed a backing band to launch her solo album ‘Electricity’ (2015), she called on those closest to her, assembling The Phantom Hitchhikers, comprising her partner, sister, and a couple of close mates. It was a temporary arrangement that quickly became permanent with the band developing an on-stage chemistry that reflected their personal bonds. They built a unique wall of sound, with three part harmonies, fuzz guitar, haunting keyboard, rocking drums, melodic bass, and pedal-soaked harmonica. In 2016 they got the opportunity to record a song for a Spencer P Jones tribute album with Dan Sullivan in his Collingwood studio. Dan and the band instantly hit it off, and the Hitchhikers returned to the studio later that year to record their festive single ‘All That Matters (it’s Christmas time)’ and to make start on an album. Over some months they made the studio their home away from home, creating ‘Nothing Ever Gets Lost’, a stellar batch of songs carefully crafted and recorded.
From heavy rock to swinging soul, lonesome country to indie rock and dark blues, the album shows glimpses of Paper Planes but also Claire’s 4-track recorded albums (such as 2000’s ‘captain captain’). This rings true with album bookends ‘Got The Picture’, with its humble acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies, and downbeat country waltz ‘On The Waterfront’. There are also obvious nods to Claire’s hometown, with ‘Lions and Tigers’ paying homage to classic Geelong rock bands such as Bored!, and featuring stunning guest vocals by Sly Faulkner (Splatterheads/Powerline Sneakers). The first single, ‘Secret Somewheres’, feels like the perfect way to showcase the band; replete with lush harmonies and unashamed pop craftiness. It flies high on joyous slacker abandon, with spatterings of fuzz guitar dripping in 90’s charm.
The double album launch for Claire Birchall & the Phantom Hitchhikers ‘Nothing Ever Gets Lost’ and James McCann & the New Vindictives 'Gotta Lotta Move - BOOM!' will be held on Sunday December 3rd at the Tote Hotel, Collingwood.