I’m not even sure I’d know about The Whitlams if it weren’t for my wife, Rhianon. A massive Whitlams fan, she frequently sings their music or excitedly shows me a song. This is a true story: one of the first nights we spent together, we were talking about music and The Whitlams came up, and it was so clear how much she loved them that I pretended I knew who they were so that she wouldn’t think less of me, even though I had no idea who they were.
I’m glad I know who they are now though. I’ve grown to love the groups’ music, and especially the lyrical and vocal work of Tim Freedman, his sardonic wit lending itself perfectly to the narrative-driven work he does here; ‘The Iron Lady stands and tells the secret / And if the revolution had been somewhere decent / I would have disappeared one day / But I’ll stay and sip my tea’ he sings on mid-album highlight “Cambridge Three”.
Second track “Nobody Knows I Love You” is the first truly great track here, Freedman’s warm vocal flowing in and around some of the most beautiful piano and guitar work the group has put down on record. Sancho is heavily reliant on piano, but Jak Housden turns in some phenomenal guitar work, while Warwick Hornby’s bass work perfectly complements the piano, most effectively on upbeat “In The Last Life”, Freedman’s ode to good fortune.
Elsewhere, the record soars on my favourite track “Cambridge Three”, while “(You’re Making Me Feel Like I’m) 50 Again” finds Freedman dwelling on age (‘Now I’m a little careful,’ he sings. ‘I don’t drive real fast / When you know you’re lucky to be here at all, sister / You want to make it last’).
Overall, Sancho is a wonderful record – a collection of tracks that are enjoyable but not challenging (and that is okay), rewarding both passive and active listening, but which will make you smile throughout. I really enjoyed listening to this one.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.