Liner Notes: The Reservations- Last Impressions

Last Impressions is the first album by the Reservations.

It was produced by Michael Carpenter. The initial sessions were recorded in Kings Rd, but the record was finished (and probably the bulk of the recording was done) at the newer Love Hz studios in Leichhardt. It was released on October 11, 2004 – my 24th birthday – through Non-Zero Records. The photos and cover photo are taken by Amy Walters.

The players are:

Danny Yau (vocals, guitars, mandolin)
Casey Atkins (guitars, vocals, keys)
Saul Foster (bass)
Israel Smith (drums)
Nigel Chong-Sun (bass)
Michael Carpenter (drums, bass)
Paul Andrews (drums)

This little band was kind of falling apart when we started recording this album, in pieces, over a few months. Saul and Israel left the band, so Nigel, Paul and Michael did a great job filling in.

This was the album that came from the first batch of songs I ever wrote. There were probably 5 or 6 more tracks that could have been recorded for this album.

We didn’t really think about making this album enough. Mood wise, it’s all over the shop. Maybe there could have been some better songs. I think we were thrilled about having just recorded some songs so we put them out.

This album was also written in a period of intense unhappiness. I was kicked out of my flat. The band was falling apart. Girl issues. A close friend, Michael Lock, died (the album is dedicated to him, for many reasons). And because of that, I wanted to make a nice album. We probably could have pushed the rock angle, or the country angle. But in the end, the album is full of songs about friends and lovers.

I do love what’s there. Apart from one song (Emily, which I have deleted from the download version), I am still pretty happy about this album.

Track notes by Danny Yau and Casey Atkins

Side 1

1. Calvin & Hobbes

DY: A song about Bill Watterson. I had just read a book about him and his life, and was a bit obsessed. I still am. But it was more about being happy without compromise. I wanted this song to sound like Ash. Nothing else on the album sounds like this. It wasn’t really indicative of what we did, and this song kind of fell off the setlist almost immediately.

The end bit was written mainly in the studio and it was the first thing that Saul ever liked that I wrote.

CA: This is the second version of the song we recorded. One was done in the original “Kings Rd” session, but I don’t think it was as big, bombastic and Ash sounding as we were after. As Danny says, dropped off the set pretty quickly, but I do remember it being our live opener for a while. Probably why it ended up the album opener.

2. Can I Go With You?

DY: Our first single. First song of mine I ever heard on radio. Lyrics are quite ironic now, as it’s about a girl who moves to the UK, something I did not long after. The chorus is “let’s throw ourselves to the wind, girl” and not “window”, as some people thought.

I guess I was trying to write a Posies song. Turned out somewhat different which is great.

CA: I always remember feeling more Teenage Fanclub (Neil Jung?) than Posies on this. Regardless, it was a fave for me and a lot of people for a long time. I still love the riff, especially when it re-enters at during the last verse. Nice little piece of pop.

Incidentally, it was me that thought the lyric was “throw ourselves through the window”.

3. Messy

DY: This song was one I always played live, although I don’t think we really nailed it in the studio. I think it was supposed to sound like Norwegian Wood or something. But people really liked this song. I think girls love the ballads. I’m pretty happy with some of the rhymes in this one.

CA: I’m actually really happy with the studio version. I loved Paul’s ‘brushes on the snare’ feel. I do remember trying to play the bass part, but realising really quickly that I’m not much of a bass player. Thanks for stepping in, MC.

4. Forever + Always

DY: This song had a riff that was kind of Byrds-y. So the only idea we had was to emulate the Byrds. I bought a 12 string Rickenbacker that I almost never used again. The middle 8 kinda doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the song, and there are like 15 chords in the thing.

Taylor Swift has since put out a song called Forever And Always which is a lot better.

CA: Some of my favourite guitar playing on the record. I love the double tracked guitar solo. Still a bit bummed that I didn’t try harder to hit a high harmony in the choruses though.

5. Somebody New

DY: This was our third single, and our usual set-ender. Written about a friend’s ex that I saw at Newtown station, with some big, tattoo-d douche bag. So yeah, fuck her. I was also very into augmented chords at this time, and would use them whenever I could. G#aug. Great chord.

CA: Always love a good rocker for rocking’s sake. Also, from memory, the only song we ever did a radio edit of, so the vocal came in earlier.

Side 2

6. Joni Mitchell’s Blue

DY: I wrote this song in my first apartment out of home, cooking a fry up, while a pretty girl I was madly in love with was about to come around. She would sometimes pick up my guitar and have a strum, even though she couldn’t play. And that became this song.

This is another one a lot of people seem to like. I guess because it’s kind of light hearted and sweet. Sometimes, live, we would change it from Joni Mitchell’s Blue to Led Zeppelin II. Other options are My Aim Is True, Bachelor No. 2 or Weezer’s Blue. Who Made Who?

CA: I’ve always liked this song with just Danny and I on it, but after this record was done and we were playing live we worked up a really good full band version. Paul came up with a great drum part. It disappointed me a bit that we never recorded it with everyone on it.

7. (Calling Out) I’m Through

DY: This was the first song we ever released, on a compilation called Rock Against Howard – an indie music finger to then Prime Minister John Howard. He was a racist cunt. We included it on the album because it’s a lot of fun to play. I think the lyrics are pretty average. If you’re going to have text, there should be subtext. But there’s something about kicking out a tune as well.

CA: Main thing I remember about this song is when we played it live. We always managed to dedicate it to somebody who’d just quit their job. I also remember re-recording my guitar part because I wasn’t happy with my tone from the original Kings Rd session. What a wanker.

8. I Wish You Were In Love

DY: My favourite song on the album. Would have been the fourth single. It was played a few times on radio anyway.

I guess all the things I like about this album is on this song. I wanted to make something that would make the world a little warmer. I wanted to tell my friends I loved them. I think the overall mood of this album is one of sweetness. Not a great selling point, but how close we got to that is how I judge this album. And I think we scored pretty high.

CA: Only time I sung a lead vocal. Many people said I sounded like Evan Dando, you be the judge.

9. As Lonely As Me

DY: This was our second single. It was written about a girl who – whenever I felt like calling her – would call me. For a while there, we felt the same about eachother (it didn’t last). But I still like the sentiment.

We were utterly, utterly obsessed with Teenage Fanclub’s Songs From Northern Britain. It was such a blissful, joyous album. We ripped it off royally for this track. And it still sounds great to my ears. Why did we put two of our best songs at the end of the album? I don’t know.

CA: There’s another subtle Teenage Fanclub reference around this song, where “Wish You Were In Love” ends abruptly, and “Lonely As Me” starts quickly after with the long strummed open chords. That was supposed to emulate the break between “Mellow Doubt” and “Don’t Look Back” from Grand Prix. Just for the train spotters. Like Danny and Me.

This song was always a favourite of mine to play, I loved singing the constant harmony all the way through.

10. I Was Born In 1980

DY: On the CD, this is a hidden track. In the era of digital, I’m happy to give it a promotion. This is just Casey and I, acoustic guitars and singing. Another sweet song.

This actually came from a year where I thought I would write my friends a song each for their birthday. I only got one song in.

CA: Yeah, a sweet song. To me it was always a bit of an answer to “Forget it Sister” by You Am I. I loved how it linked Danny and I together in song, in that we were both born in 1980.

You can download the album FREE from here – http://www.mediafire.com/?b4izmadidv9i4ip

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