Songs about Brisbane – 16: Heinz Riegler

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Heinz Riegler
And The Lovers Make A Scene/Andy Looks Up At The Sky
(2010, self-released 7″ single)

One night last year I watched Heinz Riegler perform in the concrete back room of Jamie’s Café on James Street, Fortitude Valley. After he played ‘And The Lovers Make A Scene,’ a friend in a hardcore band turned to me and said “I wish someone would write a song like that about me”. It was a good moment. Listening  now to the crisp, completed rendition on this single, I feel the same way. Yet I’m glad he’s written such a beautiful, nuanced song about his city instead of me.

That A-side is pretty much everything I know about Brisbane on the weekend: stranded after the 3am lockout, the sound Bo’s skateboard makes as he rides down the street, the place my girlfriend slings coffee, my drummer and his partner, a local DJ. These things are listed and described over a layered production, something somehow lush but also concise. As a beat arrives and departs, it all sounds admirably whittled down.

On the flipside, ‘Andy Looks Up At The Sky’ features a little more of the acoustic guitar I’m used to hearing Riegler perform with but it’s similarly grandiose. A piano follows along, a chorus of backing vocals fly around the mix and in a drum roll it’s over.

Riegler’s stuff has always reminded me of Glaswegian’s Arab Strap (especially their later, nicer stuff) and that Leonard Cohen album where he’s eating a banana on the cover, the grey one. But that might just be because those are the records I listen to at home on quiet Tuesday nights as I cook dinner. So, for me, what Heinz presents here is the other side of Brisbane City: slightly older, slightly more confident, more diverse; it’s the sound of being a few years out of the share-house and the goon cask and finally noticing the beautiful autumn streets.

Ian Rogers

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