The Round-Up: Aussie EditionAugust 21, 2017
The past few weeks in the Australian music industry has been exceptionally generous. The new King Gizzard just dropped, as well as the new Gold Class album. It’s hard to keep up with the high rate of good quality content being made over here.
I’ve wanted to review all four of these albums, so here’s a short and succinct round-up style review of a few new releases from artists closer to home.
Jen Cloher- Jen Cloher
Jen Cloher returns with an incredibly beautiful expose about her life and career as of 2017. Her successful wife (Courtney Barnett) provides much of the lyrical material for Cloher’s most recent masterpiece. As stated in many interviews, Cloher has had to battle with the horrible monster that is envy. Whilst Barnett travels the world and sells out shows, Cloher questions her place in the industry and in Barnett’s life. Cloher also questions her rights in perfectly titled “Analysis Paralysis”, as she sings “But the federal right get to decide/If I can have a wife”; very fitting in today’s current political climate. The album’s lush and nuanced guitar work, along with Cloher’s emotive vocals, are all over this record as tracks range from classic rock’n’roll (‘Shoegazers’), to guitar-heavy ballads (‘Great Australian Bite’), to punky, catchy hits (‘Strong Woman’). It’s bloody good.
The Preatures- Girlhood
Girlhood opens with it’s title, and best, track. ‘Girlhood’ is a banger about the ludicrousness of what it means to be a “modern girl” and the constructs of femininity. The album continues with themes of social justice, as track ‘Yanada’ surrounds itself with the story of Sydney’s Indigenous people, as lead singer Manfredi sings in the Darug people’s language during the chorus (should we discuss whether it’s appropriation or not?). The rest of the album is full of pleasant-enough tunes, filled with pleasant-enough lyrics. ‘Lip Balm’ is a throw-back to the early 2000s that I appreciate, there’s a fun little guitar break down in ‘Mess it Up’ with a funky bass hook, and ‘Something New’ is a great closing track. Fans of The Preatures will find comfort in the newie, as it doesn’t stray too far from their killer debut ‘Blue Planet Eyes’, bar a few more synths and a few less bangers.
The Creases- Tremolow
Britpop is back in the form of these four young Brisbane boys. This album is pure, perfected fun; something that is somewhat lacking on people’s radars as of late. The Melbournian music scene has embraced moody, garage indie and gothic folk for long enough. ‘Tremolow’ is packed with lots of ‘lah lah’s and ‘nah nah’s and horns and infectious melodies that force a smile and a boogie. The Creases have perfected the anthemic chorus without teetering over to the cheesy or saccharine camp. Although a little generic at times, there’s a distinct character that shines throughout ‘Tremolow’ due to its low-fi sheen as well as The Creases’ knack for writing a killer pop song.
There’s even a song with the chorus “You’re an asshole/And you don’t know” that I can play when the situation calls for it.
Saskwatch- Manual Override
Saskwatch’s known and loved soul sound is transformed into a psychedelic-pop experiment on their latest self-produced album as the trumpets and saxapahone solos are exchanged for synths and samplers. This is evidently clear at the beginning of the album as ‘December Nights’ and ‘Then There’s You’ are filled with synth patterns that could easily be on a Pond or Tame Impala album. Lead vocalist Nkechi Anele is stripped back, as her powerful belt is put to rest for a more subtle and emotive sound to emerge. It’s a direction the band needed to take, and Saskwatch have done an admirable job of experimenting with their ample amount of talent. The album’s weakness is it’s lyrics, as at times they’re very on-the-nose: “Hemisphere to hemisphere/ All I know is that I need you here/ Like Neil Armstrong/ You’ve been up there too long”. Ehhhhh. Although grating at times, this album is still very much enjoyable and I have no doubt that Saskwatch will continue as being one of the best live acts goin’ round.
We’re pretty lucky over here. Our music scene is one of the world’s best. What are some new releases that you’re loving from artists down under? Let me know.
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