"finding beauty in our blackest moments; mining the depths of our despair for gold. A celebration of sadness beautifully done." James Dapice - themusic.com.au
29th July 2015
"Stages of grieving in bittersweet triumph.
As suggested by the title, which reflects the sometimes lacerating but clear-eyed self-assessments inside, this is another breakup album, whether real or imagined we are not told. The point is, it certainly seems real, and these are the kinds of insights that resonate with most of us. As Batterham observes, the darker he writes them, the more the audience seems to like it. Which should mean people are going to really love this.
We admire someone else out on the ledge, but sadly, some of the masters of melancholy, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, aren’t around to hear the applause. Batterham is though, and Self Inflicted, No Sympathy is a triumph, if that’s the right word for 16 songs in all the autumnal shades of melancholia.
Close attention to these songs reveals a song cycle where the writer works through the aftermath of a breakup, from anger and shock to despair, self-awareness and philosophical acceptance. Human repair is not a straight line though, and neither is this album.
Opener Dead End arrives with the shock, a vigorously strummed guitar and a despairing vocal as Batterham sings, “I keep making the same mistake all over again, dead end’’.
All the Hearts You Break brings in electric guitar and drums, but it doesn’t spare the rod. Batterham sings in a voice that sounds like sleep has been a stranger for a while now: “Time has no mercy/Life never waits/Or magically helps you/Mend what you break.’’
On Liar, the strong melody — the melody is always king with Batterham — sits atop an undercurrent of nagging violin and cello, more John Cale with the Velvets than English folk; Snowflake is delivered like a lullaby (believe me, it’s not). And so it goes, an album delivered with all the clarity and crispness of the morning after the morning after.
How many ways is it possible to say this stuff, you might be thinking? When distilled to this kind of dew-drop-about-to-fall intensity, there is always another way."
4 1/2 Stars Noel Mengel - Courier Mail, 15th August 2015
Self Inflicted, No Sympathy is the brand new album by Melbourne singer-songwriter Nick Batterham.
This is Nick's fourth solo album. Returning to the themes of 2013's Closing Time At Yah Yah's, this album is packed full of sixteen intimate songs, sparsely arranged with acoustic guitar, piano and strings.
Self Inflicted, No Sympathy is another high water mark in the long career of the former Blindside, Earthmen and Cordrazine member. Batterham recorded this album himself from November 2014 to March 2015, with guest appearances by Jane Hendry (Broads, Nymphs, Tiger And Me) on violin and Gareth Skinner (bZARK, The Holy Sea) on cello.
With the world-weariness of Elliott Smith or Nick Drake, Batterham’s plaintive vocals express raw emotions that take us deep inside late night lives falling apart. This territory is covered with care for subtlety and beauty. For the most part Batterham is softly spoken and close. Lyrically, the songs are brooding, with self-awareness delivered with minimal embellishment. Even when most bleak, there is hope and joy. The songs are short and melodic, but beware what you sing along to as there are some shadowy elements at play here.
"I'm learning now what can't be taught
I wish for you a safer port
Are we boats that bump and break
Or do we even cross each others wake" - DEAD END
"She said she's not waiting for them to fail
She said she feels even her joy is stale
What then remains of her worn out heart
Nearer the end than the start" - SNOWFLAKE
"When you wake to find your circle has been broken
And the rain upon your roof is in your mind
Don't be shy with what you need if it isn't me
Say goodbye, say goodbye, say goodbye"
- NO ANGELS IN YOUR SKY
The cover photograph was taken in Pripyat, Chernobyl by Matthew Chuang in February 2014.