The Good Ship embrace their bad side


December 2

Yours & Owls

Tickets: $10 at the door

Their lyrics may use a few choice words and explore less than savoury topics, but The Good Ship are not all bad.

The band's banjo player and sometimes guitarist, singer and percussionist, Brett Harris, says they never write to be purposely provocative, but rather to address the world honestly.

"Anyone that sticks around and listens to the songs and pays attention to who we are and how we're delivering the lyrics we're delivering, they'll hear that we're not actually aggressive or antagonistic," he says.

"We're not up there being crude for the sake of it, we're giving a commentary on reality." There are few parts of the seedier side of life the eight-piece folk band have not explored, with many of their songs an exaggeration of real-life incidents.

From Harris's experiences in Las Vegas twisted into an ode to a one-eyed lover, to the guilt three band members felt over not picking up a hitchhiker in pouring rain reimagined into avoiding a serial killer, The Good Ship's tongue-in-cheek tunes may seem a little left of centre.

But Harris says when you examine the songs, the Brisbane-based band are simply exploring old topics in a new way. "They're not obscure. They might seem it because we might place a song in a different time to suit that sea shanty genre, but it's really about the same thing every band sings about. We sing about love and loss."

Their second album, O Exquisite Corpse, is not as crude as their first, which Harris says was a conscious decision.

"While we still have these really filthy and raucous songs on there, there's a much more sincere side to this album," he says.

"We've put a lot of ourselves into this one and when you hear songs like No Good Deed, which is a really eerie song about a hitchhiking serial killer, we've got a much darker side to this album; it's a much richer album and far more layered."

While the inclusion of banjos, accordions and trumpets would produce a folky feel not all bands would appreciate, Harris thinks it works well because they are equal parts inspired by pop, country and cabaret.

"We're not going to be throwing pedal-laden sounds from guitars into songs; we tend to keep it quite acoustic, which means we can have a lot of strength in our music by having everyone play everything at once."

With their name, the band were always going to be subjected to pirate jokes. Members can't remember whether the name or the pirate theme came first.

The Good Ship.

The Good Ship.


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