It is with some trepidation I approach the review of ‘Keepin’ It Unreal’, the latest offering from Dave Graney and Clare Moore. Not that I expect it to be anything less than fantastic, but rather because it’s kind of like having to audit the Queen. How do you critique a performer that seemingly sets the standard for what independent Australian artists can achieve? Judging by what I know of Dave Graney, who is equal parts famous and infamous, it is unlikely he would care whether I deemed his album a failure or success. Thankfully Graney has delivered, and his collaboration with Clare Moore is truly excellent. ‘Keepin’ It Unreal’ is an acoustic journey through an expansive back catalogue, that utilises the players exceptional skill in song craft. Possessing a cool and mellow cover story, the album is actually a thought provoking and exciting trip set against the lush acoustics of guitar, vibes and light percussion. It’s a great mixture and a joy to listen to, so much so that it seems silly to pick out standout tracks; this is an album to enjoy in its entirety.

Dave Graney and Clare Moore are to contemporary Australian music what Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Bouvoir are to French social and political philosophy. Whereas Sartre and de Bouvoir gave the world existentialism, post-Marxist proto-feminist analysis and iconic images of Gitanes and Parisian cafes, Graney and Moore give us pop music for the sophisticated lounge lizard, suave fashions and astute, left-field lyrical observations.
Keepin’ It Unreal is the follow-up album to Graney and Moore’s recent Hashish and Liquor double CD. Aided and abetted by Stu Thomas (Surrealist, Businessman and Paradox leader – and bestowed the regal Gallic title of Comte d’Alucard for the purposes of this album), Keepin’ It Unreal is more of the delicate, enveloping pop music we’ve come to know, respect and love from Graney and Moore. Graney’s contributions, from You Put A Spell On Me (co-written with, and originally recorded by, Matt Walker) the oxymoronic intrigue of Biker In Business Class, the sprightly Lt Colonel, Calvary to the arguably self-referential track, A Million Dollars In A Red Velvet Suit, are classic Graney material. Graney’s voice strains at the seams with crooning sincerity, complimented neatly by Moore’s 60s soft lounge harmonies; his songwriting collaborations with Moore (Vengeance Is On Its Way, Am I Wearing Something of Yours) are models of collaborative style.
Moore’s sole solo contribution is possibly the stand-out track, a cool as sweet fuck A Lot To Drink About, filled to the brim with sly blues charisma that you’d expect to find at the bottom of Hemingway’s last glass of absinthe. There’s a few covers that illustrate and reflect known and unknown artistic influences – Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne by the iconoclastic New York duo Suicide, Parchman Farm by blues artist Mose Allison (who, amongst other notable achievements, wrote Young Man Blues, covered by The Who on their seminal Live at Leeds album) and Who Of Us Two by French crooner Marcel Kanche.
Style, like its companion concept quality, is incapable of objective analysis and definition. But to listen to this album is to encounter style in its most pure aural form.
PATRICK EMERY, Beat November 06

Dave Graney and Clare Moore have a fine air of local music royalty about them. But perhaps the better analogy here is in the American model. On this truly fabulous set she's easily contemporary First-Lady material, giving every song a delightful, delicate soul and verve on vibraphone and vocals while Mr President Graney steers the ship of state with his distinctive, distinguished crooning.
But where this commander-in-chief shines and surprises is in his inspired work on 12-string acoustic guitar. Rounding out the winsome trio is chief of staff Stu D (aka le Comte d'Alucard) on six-string bass and backing vocals.
The record is a greatest-hits package of sorts, reworking songs from across the couple's vast and varied output, such as You Put a Spell On Me, by Graney and Matt Walker, and Moore's A Lot to Drink About, first seen on last year's Hashish & Liquor, and her excellent take on Mose Allison's Parchman Farm retrieved from 2002's The Third Woman.
Recorded in one day in August this year, the overall effect is sexy, swinging and very jazzy, a fine set of songs to accompany an afternoon of cocktails by the pool.
The Age EG December 06

"Graney and Moore's Australian blues-punks The Moodists left London in the late 1980's, beaten by an indifferent British media. In the 1990's, bone-dry pop irony and suddenly voluminous personality made him briefly huge back home, the Serge Gainsbourg of Melbourne suburbia. 'Keepin' it Unrea'l revisits the duo's back catalogue, originally running the gamut from feral rock to witty chansons, here arranged for a tasteful but punchy cabaret trio. Graney's knowing, self-mythologising lyrics remain incisive and effortlessly poetic, and his tremulous vocal twinkles brightly amid Moore's luminous vibes. New listeners, start here and work backwards into Dave and Clare's world of wonder."
4 out of 5
Stewart Lee Sunday Times (UK) February 2007

Strip away the brash showman and what is left of Dave Graney? This album shows that beneath the style, there’s substance. Dave and his partner, Clare Moore, are fine songwriters, and the songs are the focus of this album, which revisits and reinterprets tracks from their imposing catalogue. It’s Dave’s "Liberation Blue" record, except it’s not a Liberation release (for those wondering it means a collection of acoustic versions of an artist’s back catalogue). But it’s not a "hits" collection – Dave and Clare (joined by cohort Stuart Thomas, "Stu D") take the minimalist approach to album gems such as Biker In Business Class, There Was A Time and A Million Dollars In A Red Velvet Suit. Unreal, indeed.
Jeff Jenkins, MAG , Dec 06

Sir David & Lady Clare Keep It Unreal
Time for a break for all things Stooges and Dolls. The Barmaid and I caught Dave Graney and Clare Moore last Friday-week, at the Spanish Club in Sydney. The occasion was the local launch of their fine album, "Keepin' It Unreal" (on Reverberation).
I lost touch with Sir David's output in the late-ish '90s - his breakthrough album "Night of the Wolverine" and the follow-up, "You Wanna Be There But You Don't Wanna Travel" (the Big Rock Production Album) were played to death in these parts - but I've since caught up. "The Soft and Sexy Sound" always had some of the most biting songs Dave's written. "The Devil Drives" deserved more attention than I gave it and even the re-configured band of "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" works a treat, in retrospect.
Dave's songwriting is every bit as good as it was when he was in the thrall of a major label, but he's framing it in all sorts of ways other than your stock-standard, rock band guitar-and-keys. The latest configuration is Dave on acoustic guitar, Stu Thomas on big, thick bass and Clare on vibraphones and harmonies. It's languid, sometimes laid-back and pretty fetching when the trio re-interprets the expansive Graney back catalogue. Is it rock and roll? I'm not sure what the fuck is, but I do know that Dave's unique phrasing and always intriguing lyrics inevitably makes it a weird and wonderful ride, no matter what musical kaliedoscope it's being channelled through.
There were some rock and roll moments when the gig was shifted from the band room (which apparently had an issue with its entertainment license) and the Spanish guitar player of 11 years residency was displaced - only to be called back to fill in when Stu Thomas' flight from Melbourne was delayed. He got there in the end. The band lost its door deal - it's a bit hard to charge diners in a restaurant - so bemused tourists and punters there for the show got more than tapas and sangria for the price of their meal. It was all good.
Posted by The Barman (i94bar blog)March 2007

Rock and roll might have been where Dave Graney used to hide but he blew his cover years ago. After tasting mainstream beer barn and festival success in the mid-'90s, the chameleon of Australian rock 'n' pop cast off his leather coat of many colours and his musical muse headed for musical byways less travelled, where it was harder to put pigeons into holes but they could subsist on their own terms. "Keepin' It Unreal" is just one more excursion on that strange trip.
The latest finds Graney and musical muse Clare Moore farming their grooves in stripped back mode. This time it's Sir David on acoustic and 12-string guitars with his partner eschewing drums for vibraphone, for the most part. Filling out the line-up, which spent the time in residency at a club in Melbourne and then on low budget road trips around the country, is boss bassman Stuart Thomas, on six-string bass.
The 14 songs are a mix of familiar and some lesser-heard Graney compositions or co-writes with Moore and others, plus the odd cover (sometimes "odd" is the operative word). The whole album was cut in a day at Dave and Clare's Pondersosa home studio, so you know it sounds great.
OK rock pigs, let's cut to the chase: No-one ever claimed vibraphone to be a rock and roll staple. There's not one screaming guitar solo to be heard. Graney may own a fuzzbox but he's not going to use it. This is lounge-blues, richly anchored in warm acoustic sounds but topped with Dave's unique vocal stylisations. So if you pick up this CD, give it a spin and find yourself lost for descriptors, don't do a Favio and say "I can't believe it's not rock". There's more goodness in his disc than some mass-produced slab of laboratory margarine.
Who woulda thunk New York noise-and-menace merchants Suicide would have their "Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne" re-birthed as a driving acoustic piece that's still edgy in its own oblique way? Or that Clare would vocally tackle "Parchman Farm" (credited to Mose Allison but I know the version by John Mayall's Clapton-populated Bluesbreakers best) and infuse it with warm understatement?
Of the re-worked Graney originals there's none better here than "There Was a Time", which is stripped of its Mack truck engine room to propelled along by something more lithe and exotic. "Biker in Business Class" and "Lt. Colonel, Cavalry" also sound radically different to their alter egos.
The one departure from what passes as the norm is the closer (which is to say it has drums). A self-confessed Francophile, Graney gives an English language spin to French artist M's "Who of Us Two?". No idea how the original goes but in his and Clare's hands it's a jaunty slice of unmistakably Gallic pop (and, unsurprisingly as it sounds out of place, was recorded in a separate session.)
I was talking to a Melbourne muso about the musical place where Graney and Moore live and we were both stumped for an adequate name for it. It's not defined by conventional record company strictures but in its own way it's a more subversive existence as they've led in the past. Old fans will still make a connection.
Anyway, if you approach this album don't do it with trepidation. It mightn't get you to spend the rest of your life on the lounge but it does us all good to get out of the garage, occasionally. -
i94bar -The Barman

For the last 25 years or so, Dave Graney and Clare Moore have been in the fringes of Australian music perhaps out of an audience’s fear of anything good and a little different to what‘s understood as the norm. For Keepin’ It Unreal, the tapes rolled at the Ponderosa in Melbourne - with Graney and Moore stripping down a 25 year old catalogue down to its underwear.
What makes Dave Graney interesting (or any artist for that matter) is that knack for both reinvention and progression. And like Ed Kuepper, it’s Graney’s constant Dr Who-like regeneration makes him and partner-in-crime, percussionist Clare Moore ever so endearing.
Graney’s interpretive skill and subsequent rendition of Suicide’s ‘Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne’, is quite simply jaw-dropping and pitches Graney as Alan Vega in safari suit and pork-pie hat. Keepin’ It Unreal is a live recording which showcases Graney’s lyrical genius along side clever, simple arrangements behind smart song-titles such as ‘Biker In Business Class’ or ‘Vengeance Is On Its Way (Don’t Worry)’ which aren’t moments of black comedy, more of strange circumstances. So there you have it, another good reason made out of a CD which underlines Dave Graney and Clare Moore’s undeniable genius.
Donat Tahiraj , Time Off, Brisbane

The new album by Dave Graney and his long term musical partner Clare Moore is characterized by the sound of 6 string bass, 12 string acoustic guitar and shimmering vibraphones.
Throughout 2006 Dave and Clare (along with bassplayer Stu D) have been performing songs from Daves vast and arcane songbook in this accoustic, stripped down and naked format. Within this sound, they have been revisiting and reinterpreting many songs from different periods of Daves career, (and a few tasty covers as well).So successful were these shows, that the trio decided to record some of the songs live in the studio, with a minimum of overdubs and no electric guitars, keyboards or drums for a possible future release.
The 14 tracks here are the best of those spontaneous sessions. Some of the highlights include;You put a spell on me, a song Dave co-wrote with Matt Walker, that both Matt and Jimmy Little have recorded, but strangely Dave had not tackled before.A cover of Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne, the classic opening track off New York synthesizer duo Suicides second album (Suicide were a great inspiration for Dave in his early musical shots for impossible goals).
And; smokey, laid back interpretations of the following Graney classics; A Million Dollars in a Red Velvet Suit (1990), There Was a Time (1994), Biker in Business class (1997), lt Colonel, Cavalry & Am I Wearing Something of Yours? (1998), Vengeance is on its Way and The Stuff That Night is Made of (2000), and 2 recordings of tracks from last years opus, Hashish & Liquor.
The album closes with a stomping, glam-rock, electric-boogie cover of a 2003 French smash hit titled Qui De Nous Deux. Originally recorded by the French artist M, and well known in Australia through the So Frenchy So Chic compilations, here it is re-recorded by Dave & Clare in english as Who Of Us Two?. (This closing song is the only one on the album recorded with drums and electric guitars).
Herald Sun HIT magazine

Graney and Moore are like that uncle and aunt playing away in the corner at your family get togethers. Over the years they’ve stuck at it;sometimes they’re funny,sommetimes they’re not, sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re forgettable,but they just keep at it. You liked them when you were younger but somewhere along the way they became too familiar. "Keepin it unreal" is not going to push the first couple of alternative rock back into the spotlight but it’s a wonderful collection of songs that celebrates a sound the pair have discovered doing a series of shows in Melbourne using just vibes, 12 string acoustic and bass. Most of the songs have been recorded in one form or another but find new life here. A standout is a cover of Suicides’ Diamonds,fur coat, champagne. It’s hard to imagine how you can use acoustic guitar and vibes in place of the synthesized hell of the original but, surprisingly, it owrks. Other highlights include a shimmering version of you put a spell on me, plus Anchors Aweigh and A lot to drink about.
Peter Lalor, the Weekend Australian