The opening track of Diplomatic Immunity, is called Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight and begins with kookaburra laughter and audio from parliament in session. From that point, it is immediately clear that Client Liaison’s debut album is going to be everything you wanted it to be and more. The Australiana themed duo has churned out single after single choc full of ’80s Aussie nostalgia so far – and it’s a musical niche that has been brilliantly realised in their first album Diplomatic Immunity.
Sure, there are plenty of songs that sound a lot like previous tracks – Wild Life, which they’ve been teasing live for a while, shares a heap of similar elements to End Of The Earth and Feed The Rhythm, but in these songs it’s the subject material that differs and is significant. Each and every track addresses a common aspect of Australian life, something that is surely unique to Client Liaison as a band.
In saying that, it’s not as if Diplomatic Immunity isn’t a diverse record. It definitely is, and songs like the bass heavy 90s style techno track Do It My Way and the funk-pop inspired Off White Limousine shows off the ability of Client Liaison to craft songs in unexpected ways. Where Do We Belong even has a killer horn riff throughout.
There’s something majestic and almost indescribable about the way that Monte Morgan and Harvey Millar bring together all the complexities and elements that make up the layering in a slew of the songs on this record. Taking a track like The Bravest Beginnings as an example, which despite being more of a slow burner than a dance track, fuses together a tribal-sounding percussive layer with a driving bass, cosmic-sounding samples, synths, a ripper guitar solo and Monte’s inimitable vocals – all coming together in perfect balance.
Bringing Tina Arena on for A Foreign Affair is a stroke of genius. Although the ’90s icon’s mere presence on the track fulfils her purpose, the interplay between her and Morgan’s vocals are playful yet captivatingly melodic. The track, which opens with a plane captain talking (because it just does), brings together pop and electro in an impossibly joyous way – and Arena’s harmonies with Morgan in the back end are sensational.
At its core, what makes Diplomatic Immunity and Client Liaison’s entire cannon of music special is that there is no one making anything like it at the moment. Nor can I conceive anytime in the near future when another band takes up the proverbial mantle and starts making anything like the Australiana-tinged indie instrumental electro funk rock (or whatever it is) we’ve been gifted from this amazing record.