Dr Pelican On Holiday! is the debut solo album by Juan Alban.
Juan is perhaps best known as the singer/songwriter from Ballarat band Epicure. The group disbanded in 2010 and Juan released his first solo recording in March 2011, an EP titled Too long In Flight.
Shortly after the EP release, Juan enlisted the services of his friend, and producer,Dave Manton (Gossling, Matt Walker) to begin work on the full-length debut.
The first song from these initial sessions ‘A Death In The Family’, was released as a single in October of 2011. An achingly sad folk song which recounted the events of a loved one’s passing and subsequent funeral, it was the iTunes single of the week from Boxing Day of that year.
In the time since, the pair have been working tirelessly on completing the album with help from vocal guests Yuko Nishiyama and Brendan Skinner, as well as virtuoso pedal steel player Steven Clifford (The Hello Morning).
The inspiration for the title came from a card accompanying a Kris Kringle gift Juan received from work colleagues one Christmas. The cover was a stock photo of a pelican, and drawn on the card near the pelican’s beak, a cigar and the words ‘Dr Pelican On Holiday’.
“There was something about that pelican…” Juan explains. “I looked into its eyes and I understood that pelican… and that pelican understood me.”
Although firmly with tongue in cheek, Juan elaborates…
“It sounds stupid, but in the moment, and with the cigar drawn on etc, the pelican looked so relaxed, totally devoid of worry and trouble… a number of the songs on the album talk about being at peace and finding a place where troubled pasts are forgotten and worries are non-existent. Where everyday pressures don’t weigh on you so relentlessly… and I think the title fits that perfectly, as absurd as it might seem.”