Album Premiere: Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis – Self Titled Debut

For over two years now, Ballina native Max Quinn has been living in the big city – its smoggy air permeating his lungs, its greasy thai food satisfying his stomachly desires, its Darlinghurst darlings populating his peripheries, all whilst the conveniences and inconveniences of the urban experience are juggled gracelessly above his head. One of those conveniences is the ability to find inspiration to record a self titled mini-album under the name Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis, a brief but poetically autobiographical work which we’re pretty thrilled to be premiering.

max quinn's onomatopenis

Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis is the self titled debut from Ballina native Max Quinn, who explores the drama, the fauna and the saunas of post-monorail Sydney.

Recorded over six months using a single watt guitar amplifier, a Zoom brand microphone and a midi keyboard in a house in Waterloo, the self titled 7-tracker was written in and about Max’s first 18 months habituating to the routines of the big smoke. From track one, the record buzzes with musical breadth and impressively intimates itself with certain peculiarities of a certain peculiar Sydney’s sound, particularly those that are self-consciously referential to NSW’s capital and it’s… perceived inadequacies. There’s a few that come to mind, notably Tim Fitz and the recently resurrected SPOD, who through their own individual designs have mixed rather rough keys, robotic drums, electric guitar and dynamic wordplay into something listenable, even at times downright enjoyable, and the affinity that Quinn shows for crafting pop songs in this fashion is impressive.

If you don’t know what I mean, take this opportunity to gander through the first couple of minutes on Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis. Opening brashly with what could be a sample from Portishead, nothing on premiere track Tarmax should work together – waves of unbucked hum flit and play among an unidentified mess of major chord oscillators and self loathing lyricism. See also: the intense beat on the very next track Terrifying, it’s pounding kicks (along with our expectations) are split in twain by a guitar lick that sounds like it’s hauling ass to Graceland. It’s clear these songs aren’t held together with paper mache and blu-tack though, and its sense of movement is legitimate.

If you’re so inclined, you may also have noticed by now that it’s not the aforementioned instrumentation that makes this record worth spending some 20 minutes familiarizing yourself with. Its tight, well layered and its bibliography of obvious artist references is satisfyingly brief, but as I’ve previously stated its hustle and bustle sounds all the more familiar as the album rolls along. Quinn’s true talent rather lies in oration and the (dare I say) onomatopoeic imagining of life in post-monorail Sydney – A circus of short circuits, a surplus of purposelessness seems to roll so seamlessly off the tongue, while the phrase Central station tunnel’s a central nervous struggle is delivered far more impressively on record than it was when you read that to yourself just then.

On stage, Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis is four pals all cacophanising the shit out of guitars, drums, keys and of course that Zoom microphone. They recreate the songs loud, raucous and wonky, and after experiencing the averageness of some solo act recreations on stage, there’s really no other way to do it. Catch ’em live at the (free) Gallery Bar at Oxford Art Factory, along with the explosion of colour, noise and fun times that is Shaky Handz on December 6th. Max himself has said of the event: “It’s going to be a Christmas theme… I’m going to wear a hat and it will be sick” so make sure to don your mot festive attire and get pre-drunk on egg nog and Christmas cheer.