6 genre-defying bands and why we love them: a list by Perth’s Scarlet Drive

Last week we heard Scarlet Drive’s new single Abusement Park for the first time, a veritable concoction that takes flavours from psych, post-punk, reggae, and indie-rock and throws them all in the blender.

It was clear the Perth-based rockers weren’t keen to be pinned down to a single sound. So, we asked them to compose a list of their favourite genre-defying bands to celebrate… here’s what they came up with.

scarlet drive genre-defying bands

Who would you call your favourite genre-defying band? Here are 6 of the best ever, according to Perth legends Scarlet Drive.

The Police

Genres: Pop, Rock, Post-Punk, Reggae
Song: Roxanne

Catapulting The Police to international acclaim, Roxanne embodies everything we admire in the band. Their ability to seamlessly infuse a track with funky bass lines, a tango drum styling and of course the guitar’s offbeat strumming characteristic of the reggae genre, all within the space of a tightly packaged ‘pop’ song.

Manganas Garden

Genres: Indie, Funk, Reggae
Song: Day by Day

This Swedish gem take the funk from your favourite Vulfpeck tracks and brighten it into indie bliss. Even their most melancholy and nostalgic tracks feature upbeat patterns and offbeat guitar strums combined with backing vocals straight out of a Bee Gees song to lift up your day.

Koi Child

Genres: Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop
Song: 1-5-9

Bit of WA pride in here, it’s a known fact that it’s impossible to listen to Koi Child without nodding your head contentedly along.

Sampling authentic hip-hop conventions in their tight drumming and masterful rapping, the gorgeous jazz composition of their brass section and bass grooves with a sprinkle of funk, everyone needs a little Koi Child in their life (Check out 3:18 for a sax solo that puts Bojack Horseman to shame).

The Beatles

Genres: Rock, Pop, Psych, Classical
Song: Strawberry Fields Forever

You knew this was coming, it’s impossible to do a list like this and not include The Beatles. Trying to pin down the genre of Strawberry Fields Forever is nigh-impossible. Paving the foundations of the psychedelic genre, the song contains a brass quartet, cello trio, bongos and timpani percussion alongside the swarmandal, an Indian instrument foreign to Western audiences.

Combined with innovative editing techniques to reverse-record the cymbals and hi-hat, and masterful key changes by producer George Martin (1:40), the song transcends the rock, pop, psych and classical genres that would typically identify it.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Genres: Psych Rock, Hard Rock, Grunge
Song: Surf’s Up

WA pride aside, the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have emerged as one of Perth’s favourite acts in the past few years. Their melodic structures seem to run endlessly and Danny’s drumming is seemingly unstoppable, effortlessly transitioning from percussive synchronisation in the psychedelic to the pounding energy of a hard rock track.

Ball Park Music

Genres: Indie Pop, Classic Rock, Soul
Song: Bad Taste Blues (Part II)

There’s a reason Ball Park Music were catapulted to success so quickly within the music scene, so it’s unfair to simply relegate them to the Indie Pop genre.

Taking their cue from The Beatles, their music features experimentation in editing and instrumentation to create stadium-ready anthems that are impossible not to sing along to. Delving into electronica, fuzz-driven rock and even the psychedelic across their large discography, the band refuses to be pinned down by a label.


Listen to Scarlet Drive’s new single Abusement Park here, and be sure to catch them live on Friday 20 July at the Civic Hotel in Perth. Details here.