Pip Proud
Record Review
Pip Proud: Oncer (Emperor Jones Records)
Review by KEN LIECK, Austin Chronicle, August 11, 2000
If Foster's is Australian for beer, Pip Proud is Australian for Syd Barrett. Proud, y'see, put out a handful of albums back in the psychedelic days that never made it up from Down Under. Now he sits around in the Outback (or at least out in his back yard) with a single mike and tape recorder and drawls out poetic, peyotic, two-chord epics, some of which are augmented with additional instrumentation by labelmates like ST 37 and Alastair Galbraith. While his history may keep him from falling in the "outsider music" category, the songs of Oncer certainly fit there, sounding like nothing more than some old fella in a dusty ghost town strumming out his memories and recollections to any phantom who'll pause long enough to listen. Dark yet occasionally imbued with hope, Proud songspeaks his way through such memoirs as "Hey, Sally" ("lay down with her, take all of me ... that's okay, we ain't going nowhere") and the damning "Crystal Night (Ode To the 20th Century)," wherein he plays the part of every jolly murdering soldier of the World Wars, chuckling with his buddies as they mow down "Kikes" and "Nips" with glee. While Proud drones on like only an old man or a young shoegazer truly can, the improvised accompaniments occasionally sound nailed-on, which of course, they are. Thus, they serve their purpose of providing some variety behind the repetitive, off-key acoustic guitar that Proud offhandedly strums as he makes his observations ("Spent the night counting the darkness. Must be a million bits of black out there"). And if the music's still too frantic for you, there's one long track, "Gone Fishing," that's exactly what the title implies.