Review of the Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos album ‘Too Much Water In The Boat’.
The Australia Council For The Arts delivers over $200 million in funding every year to arts councils and individuals. The goal is to enrich Australia by supporting the practice and enjoyment of the arts. Some of that loot has found its way into the pockets of the chameleon-like Charles Jenkins. The stipulation? Every song has to be about water. So Jenkins and his merry band have clocked in 11 tunes that explore the rich aquatic history of Australia, from missing scuba divers to all of those asylum-seeking boats making detours to Christmas Island. The result is an eclectic pastiche of wry humour and social commentary. Sonically, the songs run the gamut from surf rock to alt country. Out of context this may sound jarring, but the band deftly marries near-perfect melodies to Jenkins’ lyrical content. To the credit of Jenkins and his band, sentiment is never overwrought. Instead, Jenkins and co. simply tell us folk tales accompanied by some solid musicianship.