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Music, or art in any form, is about space. To create a setting that engages with thoughts, ideas, or musings, and unravel them in real time, is to create a masterwork. Through a landscape of calculated interpretation and embraced accidents Caravans, the second album from Sydney’s Rand and Holland, is just that.

Developing out of the home recordings of Brett Thompson, Rand and Holland materialized when those offerings became the basis for 2003’s Tomorrow Will Be Like Today (Preservation). The debut received widespread acclaim for the unique pop sensibilities and disarming melodies that emerged from the collaborative efforts of Rand and Holland, all of which centered on Thompson’s songwriting.

Rand and Holland has since gone through several transformations, borrowing skills for both studio and stage from Australia’s most revered musicians. The album you now hold in your hands is the focused efforts of these musical interactions, and primarily the creative relationship that has developed between Thompson and longtime collaborator Stuart Olsen. Like its predecessor, Caravans benefits from a unique perspective towards creativity, sound, pop and musical obsession, only this time presenting a more complex interaction between these elements and the individuals at the record’s foundation.

Featuring contributions from members both past and present of City City City (and Ned Collette), The Rebel Astronauts, Holly Throsby’s band, The Cannanes, Coda, the Holy Soul and recorded by Chris Townend at Big Jesus Burger in Surry Hills and Mike Burham at Tardis Studios in Marrickville, Caravans is a body of work that represents the conflicting subtleties of emerging musical identities and resisting musical idiom.

Emotionally obscured and creatively confident, Rand and Holland’s second offering represents a world of hope and a journey that benefits from despair. Eloquent and epic dreamscapes emerge to immerse the listener in a carefully crafted world of pop inspired folk, one that is as unsettling in its pop elements as it is comforting in its atmospheric embrace.

Taking cues from contemporary troubadours such as M Ward or Yo La Tengo, sonic explorers like Autistic Daughters and Leafcutter John, and the unspoiled musical antiquities of bluegrass, folk, and 60s pop, Caravans uses the indie pop world from which it emerges to create something incredibly relevant yet unique to the core. Enjoy, as the pop becomes all-encompassing and the tensions begin to unfurl.

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