Most people will never release an album, let alone multiple. Zac Denton – as a member of The Ocean Party, Ciggie Witch, Hobby Farm, Pregnancy, No Local, and Cool Sounds – released nearly twenty, all before the age of 24, when he tragically and unexpectedly passed away.
At the age of 18, Zac moved to Melbourne from the regional New South Wales town of Wagga Wagga to join his brother as the drummer, and later guitarist, for The Ocean Party. Zac began writing for the band straight away, but with such a large output was quick to start another band – Ciggie Witch – to write, record and play with in-between The Ocean Party’s recording and touring schedule.
A couple of years after moving to Melbourne, Zac befriended the members of a new band: Cool Sounds. After moving in with the band’s lead singer, Dainis Lacey, he was asked to join Cool Sounds, recording on their album Dance Moves.
Around this time Dainis and other members of Cool Sounds were involved in the recording of what could be considered Zac’s first solo album: Hobby Farm’s Braeside. Zac’s love of the songwriting of David McComb and the Triffids shines through on Braeside, with Robert McComb even playing violin on many of the album’s country-tinged tracks.
It was not only the softer side of 70’s and 80’s Australian underground music that had an influence on Zac’s songwriting. His next project – the Post-punk-infused Pregnancy – saw Zac out front on the mic sharing vocals with his good friend Ashley Bundang.
If someone was to scan the record sleeves of Zac’s releases they would see a small list of names come up again and again. Liam ‘Snowy’ Halliwell would be on every one of them in one form or another. No Local, featuring Zac on Drums and Snowy out front, was to be one of Zac’s final projects.
Zac didn’t just release a lot of albums, he played and recorded much more music, some of which will never see release. Love, Lust, Lost sees the release of songs and fragments left behind by Zac at his passing. ‘Ciggie Whinge’, ‘Six Weeks’, and ‘Pay You Back With Love’ are demos for what would have been the next Ciggie Witch album. Early demos of what became Ciggie Witch songs ‘Walking the Tracks’ and ‘Look of Pain’ let us sit with a younger Zac, while he adjusts to adulthood. Many more of these songs are harder to place. There is a guitar line from a future Ocean Party song here and a demo for what may have been a future Pregnancy song there. Other fragments in the form of instrumental demos show just how much emotion he could put into a simple guitar line.
So many unanswered questions arise when listening to the songs compiled for Love, Lust, Lost, but what it gives friends and fans is a chance to reflect on just how lucky we were to ever have Zac Denton in this world.
Release: August 26th, 2022, Osborne Again/Spunk Records