In the wake of their April tour, Australia* (the band, not the country, not a country band) have dropped their debut like a drop bear invasion in a children’s park, frighteningly exciting and scarily newsworthy.
The album Portraits of People, Places and Movies is quintessentially Australian. You can just hear the Vegemite and cheese oozing out of this aural toasted sandwich the band have cooked up for the country to hear.
It’s time to abandon all your responsibilities, hit up the BBQ and allow yourself to be immersed in the strong ’80s pop flavour that is Australia’s debut Portraits of People, Places and Movies.
The album in its entirety is complex and production heavy, jam-packed with spiralling synths and samples. In the process of making the album the facial fuzz trio decided to ignore translating their sounds to a live show, instead going creatively wild and focusing on delivering a great fucking debut. Ten days in the South Coast resulted in an album with diverse sounds that seemingly link together through the continuation of an old school Australiana style.
A bold opening with first track Love is Better starts off the album on a funky, groovy, and ready-for-business note. Whether or not they’re singing about it, part of Australia’s aesthetic tends to focus on storytelling and trying to paint a portrait – perhaps the overall intended theme of the album.
A change of tone with Wake in Fright, Guy Fenech’s cavernous voice cuts evilly through the instrumentation, creating something strangely dark and mischievous. The vast depths of the song will leave you with goosebumps and the backing vocals will make you want to look over your shoulder.
Who R U? is a standout for the album, with fast paced guitar rhythms and textured sounds it’s a simple yet infectious track. In Not the Place I Know Fenech’s howl weaves through the music, his voice taking on a low pitch that’s almost threatening. It’s an eerie slow burner that plays around with silences, pauses, and reverb to create something beautiful.
In the Rain embraces driving drums and wobbling guitars, whilst the enigmatic In my Dreams holds onto a dreary, dreamy atmosphere, taking us to another plane full of wonder and tambourines. We are awoken by the energetic Breathe In that brings the album up to speed again, until we are faced with a total outlier in the album, the final track This Sea. Mimicking the ebb and flow of the ocean, I imagine myself singing this in a rowboat at twilight, paddling myself to the horizon and forgetting about the life I have left behind – goodbye cruel world… cya never.
It’s time to grab a beer with the old man and finally find something you both can agree on, this is a damn good day for Australia. Get your hands on Portraits of People, Places, and Movies, available now through digital download, Bandcamp, and short run vinyl.
*When you have a band name that is this un-Google-able a harsh reality hits when trying to promote a debut album release. Too clashing for people to find them, Australia (the band) have masterfully created an assertive slogan “Australia…the band, not the country, not a country band.” It comes in a t-shirt. Kudos to them, we suspect in no time at all people will be interrupting conversations around the world asking if they’re discussing Australia the band, or Australia the country.