1 August 2021
Where you can find reviews of local releases and our prestigious single of the week.
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Finn Pearson is one of those artists who ploughs the folk/country music furrow without ever getting bogged in its sticky clumps of saturnine earth. He borrows the richness without letting it tie him down. So it is with new single, ‘No Apologies’, which starts out with country harp and a train-track beat that carries Pearson’s lyric about growing up and living in the blank suburbs of Anytown without ever interfering in the integrity of its pain and beauty. Pearson writes lyrics as sharply observational as Courtney Barnett or Paul Kelly, saying in a few words things most ordinary folk could never express, but nevertheless sit lodged in our hearts, waiting to be unlocked. With lines like, If this is how it’s meant to be / Why do I feel so alone?, Pearson speaks to and for generations hoping for more but always getting less. It’s harrowing stuff, but Pearson and his band sing and play it with such jaunt that you can’t help but be grateful for the existence of their music.
We give ‘No Apologies’ TFA.
Alter Boy’s latest single, ‘Act Of God’ is another ball of rage wrapped up in the glitter and sparkles of their special brad of naïve-sounding electropop. If you haven’t been introduced yet, there’s nothing naïve about this band; they know exactly what they’re doing. ‘Act Of God’ is a slow burn of a song with church choir and classical music overtones in the middle eight, the kind of sounds that ring constantly in the ears of survivors their entire lives. The music is signature Alter Boy, well worth the listen without ever having to take in what’s happening On God’s green Earth. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover one of the reasons why Alter Boy are going to be flavour of the month for as many months as they choose to do what they do — they hit the most difficult of society’s ills with little care for whether you agree or disagree. Alter Boy say what needs to be said when others would have you believing everything is fine. And, somehow, they make you feel good while they’re doing it.
We give ‘Act Of God’ TFA.
‘Marjorie’ is Steve Hensby’s love letter to US Congresswoman and conspiracy theorist, Marjorie Taylor Green. Opening with strings and flute — like the lead song in a musical — we’re soon into Hensby’s world of musical wonder, as he throws down for his latest love. Like his yearning for the aforementioned Congresswoman, Hensby leaves no musical stone unturned in creating a slickly produced and lushly orchestrated ode that leaves you in no doubt as to his virtuosity as both a songwrtiter and a major kook. Without songs like ‘Marjorie’ and people like Steve Hensby and his band we’d all be living in monochrome and the far right would be winning. Hensby is living proof that there is a better way.
Just in case you’re struggling with the concept, it’s fucking satire!
We give ‘Marjorie’ PFA and a special mention to Steve Hensby for bringing us whimsy in a world filled with whamsies.
Heligan’s debut single, ‘Castaways’, has more movements than a Swiss watch and is just as polished and desirable. This three-piece outfit describes what they do as progressive punk and with their borrowings from metal, rockabilly and prog rock — hence all the movements — that’s a pretty apt label. The last time I saw a band describe themselves playing prog rock it was just an excuse for being noodly and pretty terrible at playing their instruments. Heligan are none of these, hence ‘Castaways’ rips along at a cracking pace, delivering killer blow after killer blow, while all along reminding you of a sped up sea shanty. Must be the Cornish ancestry. Whatever it is Heligan’s doing, they’ve hit on something with ‘Castaways’ that gives hope for a bright future for this mighty trio from Perth.
We give ‘Castaways’ PFA.
Check out all the new releases you can handle on our Spotify playlist.