The Ressurection of Angie Hart

I still remember many years ago in Australia when I first heard the voice of Angie Hart. I can't remember exactly what I was doing, but I do remember that I stopped what I was doing. The song was "Ordinary Angels", 2 minutes and 26 seconds of perfect acoustic pop. The ethereal voice of Angie Hart floated over a shuffling slightly-left-of-center chordal progression. The voice had a vulnerable, breathy quality but there was something else. Now, many years later, I realise that part of the charm of the voice is a Australian cadence, a slight flattening of the vowels and roundening of the consonants.

The song was from the band, Frente, and the song was written by the guitarist Simon Austin, still one of my favourite acoustic guitarists. They released two fantastic e.p.'s, which contained a bevy of great songs, including t"Labour of Love" (20 MB avi). The future boded well for the band, as they started to make headway into the Australian music scence. They even played at the university where I studied.

The first album, Marvin the Album, included most of the good songs from the ep's with a few new ones. Unfortunately, the first single from the album was the garish "Accidentally Kelly Street", a song with a very catchy melody but terrible lyrics (Here's the door / And here's the window / Here's the ceiling / and here's the floor), contrasting painfully with the other songs. And to pile misery onto misfortune, they made a terribly gauche music-video for the song, where Angie is dressed up in a house-wife costume cleaning a card-board cut-out house with oversized brooms and dustpans. It was a frightening possibly inspired by a session with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The second album, "Shape", was where I lost interest. The problem was that Simon Austin, whilst a brilliant acoustic guitarist, couldn't really handle the electric guitar. Frente mutated from a lively acoustic band to a languid electic prog-rock guitar band. Of course, there was a relationship within the band and not long after Austin and Hart broke up, the band ended.

I lost track of them for a while but a few years later, Angie Hart popped up again with her new band, Splendid. Well it was not so much a band, but a love child. Touring with Frente, Angie met former Chilli-peppers guitarist, Jesse Tobias, and they got married, formed the band Splendid, and released an album, "Have you got a name for this."

After Frente ended, Angie moved to L.A. and Simon moved to New York. Apparently, Splendid got jerked around by the record company where they didn't even bother releasing their first album in the States. And if you crawl through the splendid web-site, you'll find that Angie spent several years trying to write music, live in l.a., maintain a relationship, whilst working a 9-to-5 job in retail. But it seems that phase is over. Although Splendid has released their second album, Angie is now back in Australia. And Frente, well, recognizing the spark that made them great, Angie and Simon recently started playing again, and recognizing the error of their ways (mp3), they have now reformed Frente. Long live Frente.

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