Pete Lyrebird is based in Melbourne but belongs to numerous times and places. Appearing from a shadowy haze, he navigates an eclectic musical terrain through wintry ballads, dirges, story-songs and improvisation. In both the live and recorded realms, he delivers these as thematic, highly immersive song-cycles that engage listeners with their atmospheric journeying.
Drawing from a varied range of contemporary and traditional genres, as well as art-forms outside of music, the poetic ventures of these songs are experienced as a moody, elemental kaleidoscope of characters and places exploring the more curious, fragile and desperate edges of life. Performed with a bold commitment to aural exploration, the music of Pete Lyrebird conjures a breed of alt’ folk, broadcast from its own surreal and idiosyncratic universe.
With a captivating bass-baritone that has drawn comparisons to Nick Cave, Scott Walker, ‘Roy Orbison in the desert’ and ‘like something in a David Lynch film’. Joining him, depending on the musical journey, are darkly hued figures on melodic guitar, percussion and backing vocals. Regulars and guest musicians to this ensemble have so far included Andrew Shields, Jeremy Parker, Wanyima Wighton, Anna Benton, Kirri Buchler, Steph Brett, Wayne Joseph Kington and Addison Hunt.
The 'Lyrebird' name has a personal connection, as Pete placed a lyrebird sticker on the first microphone he ever owned, and once even happened upon the bird performing its famous ritualistic dance while wandering through a darkened wood. 2018 and 2019 has seen the launch of debut EP Pair Of Rogues', along with a video and subsequent national tour. The EP is a song-cycle meditation on the theme of ‘roguery’. In this case being one who, either physically or existentially, brings about their own misfortune (and often others) through an obsessive belief in some sublime delusion or conviction.
In the year 2000, Pete began writing songs as a means of exploring music as a souped up vehicle for stories and character ideas. With Reid's musical experience being minimal, The Tar Gang was a band dedicated to providing the musical flesh to the skeleton of songwriting, compositions and stories that were written. The mission for the music remained largely true to it’s origins, though the passage of time and experience perhaps brought a greater appreciation for subtlety, combined with the epic scope and elemental force found in earlier songs such as Ben Macduie and Mr Spun.
Across the span of several years they evolved into an interchangeable ‘gang’ of musicians that grew or altered according to the needs of individual projects or geographic locales.
Officially begun in Melbourne, 2006, after initial collaboration with Renato Vacirca and Jean Brown through 2005, and even earlier development as The Ingrates in Launceston (Tasmania) with L’hibou Hornung, Fleur Evans and Wayne Smart over 2001 – 2002. The Gangs lineup grew further from 2006 to 2010 during the Songs Of The Hollow Bone Moon project, including such musicians as Kirri Buchler, Will Tait, Carla Ori and Sean Louth – and even a ‘men’s choir’ consisting of Pablo Calero and Bernard Nolan.
Tar Gang performance highlights include shows at The Village Festival, the album release of Songs Of The Hollow Bone Moon at Melbournes Trades Hall, Brisbane Festival, ACMI/Federation Square’s Tim Burton exhibition concert series, Adelaide’s Garden of Unearthly Delights Speigeltent, opening for Vulgagrad and Mikelangelo and the Tin Star, and performing in theatrical show Four Rogues at Melbourne's Next Wave Festival 2008.