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Welcome Drued, a curly-haired free thinker with a stunning debut EP.
A Druid, in its simplest definition was a philosopher, teacher, counsellor, or magician amongst the Celtic population of the Iron Age. In modern times, Druidism is a spiritual path for those dissatisfied with widespread religions.
But what does a Druid have to do with Sydney’s newest solo act Drued? According to Josh Reeves, if he let himself ‘go’ it would be his natural veracity. Step away from bearded iron ancients and a 70s progressive rock band, replace the ‘i’ with an ‘e’ and you have a philosophic bloke who’s producing some seriously sweet sounds.
Drued is the project of Sydney-based creative Josh Reeves, who has made a bold contribution with a debut EP this month Jupiter Mid Heaven. While this is the first official offering we’ve seen from Drued, Josh Reeves is no stranger to Sydney’s local music scene.
Impressively, he is also the drummer for rising local legends The Dinlows, Salvador Dali Llama, Papa Pilko, and the Bin Rats. How he has gotten the time to produce a solo project is beyond me, but the musical heavens are thankful. I got chatting to the artistic Mr Reeves and came to the conclusion that not only can the chap carry a tune, but also he certainly bestows a sense of curiosity in his music that is truly captivating.
Drued croons his way through lush new EP Jupiter Mid Heaven. Pouring intricate acoustic guitar work and dense guitar hooks, the EP makes for a lush one.
Growing up in his grandparents’ beach house at Whale Beach, Reeves described how he came to love music: “I guess it was a natural progression for me, my Mum is a professional singer song writer and gigged a lot in the 80’s around Sydney. It was always interesting for me, although I’m not sure if I started playing just because I was basically her shadow for a lot of years. But once I started I knew it was for me…”
Based on his hectic affiliations drumming for a totalled four other Sydney bands, a solo career wasn’t something Reeves had ever dreamed of pursuing until just a few years ago. “The very idea kind of (singing) made me sick, but I was struggling to express myself through my instrument to the extent I was feeling, I felt like I could do more… It’s such a full on medium of expression that everyone has some sort of opinion on so it was kind of scary at the start to be honest.”
Produced by Daniel Willington (not to be confused with Swedish Watch company Daniel Wellington), Jupiter Mid Heaven is a 5-track autobiography from Reeves inspired by his own stories and a newfound life ideology: “I don’t want to leave a stoned unturned in this lifetime, I’m all for expression in art. I also had a very close to death car accident about half a year ago, which was a real life lesson in what I actually wanted to do with my life.”
Minds Eye opens the EP with an acoustic guitar and Reeves’ easy listening vocals chanting “Now I’m sick of all of it. I’m sick to the stomach” and “over and over in my mind”. In a leisurely tone that is somewhat accepting of whatever has led to his exhausted mental state, it is a refreshing take on what has the potential to be a highly self-reflective song.
Vocally you can hear a definite Matt Corby resonance in Reeves’ gravelly utterances, that will spring your audio attention like a meerkat sensing a predator. Particularly in the opening to Terracotta Clouds where Reeves demonstrates a knack for making pretty sounds that require no translation. You’ll get kills, thrills, though they may be exempt from some Sunday Pills.
Jupiter Mid Heaven is a more upbeat, catchy tune on the EP with a surfy, summer vibe. “Now I see that you’re not coming back to me” is the realising line of the overarching theme of clarity and understanding by Reeves. There is a very satisfying jump into an almost reggae vibe with a momentary drum progression that carries the tune home.
A definite favourite from the EP is Wet Brain. The song opens with a sexy blues Sticky Fingers vibe guitar picking, simple and sensual. “Wet brain it’s in my veins… wet brain it’s in my blood” presents a vivid image that disturbs and perplexes. Say no more.
Old Man is a greasier, scratchy jam you’d ironically imagine getting played outside a retro petrol station. “When I grow up I wanna be an old man… Get lots of bitches and get a nice tan” makes you wonder whether Reeves wants to be Hugh Heffner in his retirement, nevertheless is an absolute toe-tapping pub winner.
You can definitely pick up on the 70’s-80’s Australian music influences in the outdoorsy tone of the EP. Reeves explained what influences him in music to be: “… I think probably the biggest impact in terms of music would be reggae for me; I’m super into heavy grooves and mean bass lines. It’s the closest thing to sex.” Yes. It. Is.
Jupiter Mid Heaven is just a taste of what we can expect to come from Drued. With a festival circuit and a few solo gigs coming up, not to mention the early stages of a debut album, he is certainly an artist we have yet to hear much more from. Give this EP a listen and let the goose bumps settle.