The Cigarettes The Sky’s Not Blue It’s Happy is a homespun concoction of effects-laden guitar, rudimentary rhythm boxes, and primitive synthesizer, vibed straight to tape and left abandoned for over thirty years in favor of future legend. A jazz funk, New Wave affair, as experienced through a wandering coastal view of Australia.
Formed in the late 1970’s in the port town of Geelong, Australia, and consisting of members Alan Wright (lead vocals, bass), Mark Gove (guitar, vocals), Mark Stanley (drums, vocals), and John Phillips (guitar), The Cigarettes initially drew their influences from the theatrical overtones prescient in New York’s rock ‘n’ roll scene at the time. Whether emulating the candor of Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby or the flair of the New York Dolls, the band brought their Aussie-tinted interpretations to devoted crowds in pubs and venues all along the Victorian West Coast from 1976 to 1977 before disbanding in 1978 after they were declared “over” by local music publications. Wright would later go on to more prominent recognition as a member of the band, Zydeco Jump, and appeared multiple times on the Australian variety show, The Big Gig.
After moving away to Sydney and Melbourne, respectively, Wright and Gove regrouped in the early ‘80s to settle their unfinished business as a band and coalesce their new musical interests. They set up a recording studio in Richmond (in the shadows of the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground and Pelaco Neon Sign), and spent the next two years intensely recording and producing. Despite the hiatus and musical projects in between, they created a multitude of recordings, and one result from this period was the instrumental, unreleased album, The Sky’s Not Blue It’s Happy.
Originally recorded on consumer grade 4-track and 8-track tape machines, the album was primarily conceived by Wright and Gove, but includes contributions from original member, John Phillips, as well as keyboards from George Butrumlus, and backing/atmosphere vox from Neil Cawthray. Heard here for the first time ever as part of Anthology’s further journeys into the digital space, the fourteen instrumental tracks on The Sky’s Not Blue It’s Happy will make fans of Uku Kuut, Tony Palkovic, and the recently reissued Steve Hiett albums double take in disbelief that this music has remained unknown until now.