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His first record in over five years, Fremantle troubadour Carus Thompson dissects the Australian psyche on Island, weaving vignettes of suburban darkness with stories of ice addiction, refugees and isolation, superimposed on sunny acoustics and classic folk-rock.

Embracing uniquely Australian vernacular and scenery, Thompson breathes authenticity into the characters of the album's narrative. Sonically, the simplistic arrangements border on cyclical and homogeneous from track to track, yet this allows his storytelling to take precedence and songs such as piano ballad Go There With You to stand out through its divergence in tempo and style.

With a career spanning over 20 years, the fruits of fine-tuning his songwriting show through in lyricism that manages to avoid slipping into melodrama given the subject matter (though title Starve Myself Pretty is an exception), instead providing listeners with a raw glimpse into issues that are becoming part of the national conversation.

Brynn Davies (

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