Poetic beginning for new Augie March album

The latest Augie March album developed out of the poetry by frontman Glenn Richards.
The latest Augie March album developed out of the poetry by frontman Glenn Richards.

The latest Augie March album has emerged as only it could, through words written by frontman Glenn Richards in a drunken haze.

Throughout the band's career, spanning more than two decades including a hiatus here and there, Richards has been known for his masterful lyrics. He doesn't disappoint on their sixth album Bootikins.

"I had a series of poems and there was some good groups of stanzas in there that I could shape into songs quite easily. So the first four songs that I wrote were in that fashion, very simple compositions, the words had all the power," Richards told AAP.

"Having the poems already written and coming out of a maybe sometimes drunk mindset, or a particularly adrift mind, the material was already there."

This latest album was somewhat inspired by stories and legend from the Roman Empire. Bootikins is a reference to the Roman emperor who was nicknamed Caligula - a term for the small booties he wore as a baby.

"It's a funny little name but it's got all of the menace and horror of what he oversaw," Richards said.

But dig deeper, and it's a little more personal. In fact, Richards says the new music reflects on the less-appealing sides of his own personality.

"It was clear to me I was projecting or exaggerating a possible self in each of these songs, the worst variations," he said.

But the music remains beautiful, belying whatever ugly traits Richards might be trying to convey.

The album also retains the honour of being the last ever produced by the late Tony Cohen - the ARIA Award winner who worked with The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and died in August.

It was Cohen who approached the band to work with them, and tried to do it for free.

"We ended up forcing him to take money," Richards said.

"That was a really beautiful few days. He hadn't worked for such a long time because he'd been ill so he was really keen, and he did longer hours than just about any of the younger guys I've worked with over the years."

* Bootikins is out now. Augie March are touring nationally in May.

Australian Associated Press