Artwork by Gemma Keating

Kicking stones at the neighbours fence
counting my mistakes as they fall
mother said “don’t take that girl for granted, else you lose her”

From the opening lines of this debut single, released just last week, you sense that Oliver Northam knows how to tell a story. Scene setting, imagery, characters, narrative: all there in those three lines.

And that’s just the words.

Northam and his band The Elsewheres play sweet, rich folk-pop music that in lesser hands could be saccharine and overwrought. They can play quiet and reflective (some of Northam’s songs will bring you to tears), they can play with energy and gusto.

Northam wrote Into His Arms in his hometown of Harcourt early this year (while recovering from having his tonsils out!) and recorded it in studios in Ferntree Gully and Collingwood.

“It was pretty exciting to be in studios recording my own song,” said Oliver, a student at the Australian College of the Arts in Melbourne (also known as Collarts).  “There were some beautiful moments and that sense of ‘We’re doing something right here’.”

Produced by Nick Rakers, Into His Arms sees The Elsewheres’ sound augmented with cello, violin and trumpet.

The song’s 60 second video, filmed in a rotunda at Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy, is a delight. (You’ll find the video on Instagram and Facebook.)

Northam and The Elsewheres played their first gig about 15 months ago and though I’m somewhat biased (my son Reuben is the band’s drummer), I reckon they are onto something. Young, keen, and never losing sight of what matters: the song.

Into His Arms – about youthful regret and life-long lessons –  is a strong debut.

Listen to Into his Arms via Triple J Unearthed and Spotify.

 

 

Vin is founding editor of Stereo Stories and director/MC of Stereo Stories In Concert.