With earnest, soaring melodies and lyrically dark yet hopeful undertones, the collaboration with producer Paul Demspey makes perfect sense here and it’s easy to see why he’s described the Brisbane 6-piece as one of the best bands to come out of Australia in recent years.
Humdrum Star trickles into play with a sombre bass and a tiptoeing drumbeat, building into the prophetically themed opening track, Golden Archers. The way the song builds and layers instrumentally is characteristic of Mosman Alder’s style, with Valdis Valodze’s luscious baritone inducing goosebumps at its first notes. It’s a dramatic, eerie album intro that’s counteracted perfectly by the up-tempo, catchy Germland (Of Julien Charbonneau) as it follows with the comparatively boisterous confidence of a song that knows it’s bound to be singled out as an album hit.
Lyrically dark, yet set against an almost effervescent melody it’s a tale of depression, friendship and adventure; all at once desolate yet high-spirited. This juxtaposition of the bleak against the hopeful is a theme that meanders throughout the album beautifully.
The Dempsey influence is immediately evident at the opening of Colours which starts off reminiscent of Something For Kate but grows into something almost more like Elbow’s recent work.
Try Your Luck on the other hand, is a sugary love story, embellished with poppy harmonies and gooey metaphors; “…moving in bliss like a cloud scattered through a storm ready to break”. The skillful ability to command visuals here is revisited throughout this set, heightening the dreamscapes that the music invokes.
Kicking off fiercely with an invigorating rhapsody of drums, violins and keyboard Home Alone rides waves of quiet/loud interplay straight into number one spot as my personal favourite. Continuing on this winning streak, God is Pissing on You, counteracts its pessimistic title with a buoyant melody whilst the austere keyboard of Shine licks at a touching, fragile ballad.
It’s Not Love creeps up with a stripped-back intro that burst unexpectedly into energetic indie-rock, highlighted by lashings of vicious guitars, sparing harmonies and a chanting background choir.
Prized Paradise resembles a soundtrack to an upbeat movie montage before Tokyo 1933 lulls with a sleepy melodic backbone.
As an apt-wrap-up, Spirit soars into an ethereal climax for this mysteriously satisfying, and overall optimistic journey.
It’s an elegant debut for a band at the top of their game and is likely to garner even more appreciation for this richly talented ensemble.