With the help of engineer Sam Johnson (The Smith Street Band, The Bennies), Pitt the Elder recorded their debut album by themselves, in sheds and houses all over Victoria. After Johnson kindly mixed it for the Melburnian punks, they came out with a tape 24 minutes and 47 seconds long, which they initially called “Tapey”, but later re-named it At the End of the Day. Pitt the Elder the awesome bands lead by chicks that are slaying the scene right now. But oh, there’s much more to this band – there are guys in it too. The band is a foursome, made up of Matt (drums), Jai (bass), Shaun (guitar/vocals) and frontwoman Em. They have no surnames, that’s how underground they are.
Melbourne punks Pitt the Elder have delivered an urgent, explosive and fun debut album At the End of the Day. Listen to the whole album here a week in advance.
Who’s on First blasts off this album in typical punk style, with the genre’s trademark pacey riffs and chord progression so fast it would trip up laid back guitarists. The lyrics fly past, leaving no answer as to whether this song is an ode to one of the greatest comedy routines ever (look here, kids). Blink and you’ll miss, Who’s on First only lasts for 97 seconds before Phantom Pains, a tightly-wound song dealing with teenage boredom and frustration, rockets off. Speaking of explosiveness, fourth track Double Double lives fast and dies a young 12 second death.
Life is an apt metaphor for this album, because as it ages it slows down and strays away from a regimen of strict punk towards exploring the band’s pop-punk and alternative rock tendencies, which to be fair, are next-door neighbours to punk rock on the musical boulevard. Songs like Always Waiting and the spoonerism-titled Cliffy Byro slow down and open up, revealing the melody hiding on the inside jacket pocket. Always Waiting features some piano, but at that it’s a furious punk mashing of the same chord. Cliffy Byro also introduces harmonising guitars that mourn throughout the song to hold up the sorrowful mood of the song (“I feel useless all the time” traipses vocalist Em).
By the time we get to Noodle Arms, the third-to-last track, the lack of urgency gives us the sense that Em and the band have grown old and weary from feeling burdened by the world. Even though the pace of the song is blistering, the guitars plateau just enough to make the song feel downer than the front-end of the album. The change in mood is not surprising to find in a debut album, given that such records tend to be recorded over a longer time than a second, third or fourth album. It is a display of songs written from across the timeline of their very beginning to the end of the last recording season.
If I may, I want to take you back to the time I wrote a retrospective observation of Karnivool‘s debut album. They named Themata‘s final track Change because, as a progressive rock black sheep amongst that album’s turn-of-the-millenium alternative metal and the last song written, they believed it signalled the band’s future direction. That transitional notion is evident in closing track Early Days, which pools a tight, looping choral riff, a post-rock crescendo bridge and a vocal sample, into a neat little 160-second package that puts the Melburnians at their most mature. This particular blend of punk, alternative rock and pop is expertly crafted like eggs, sugar and fruit make a good Pavlova.
That’s just me though. I really feel that if they follow the course of their final song, Pitt the Elder could plough their singular course in the great musical haze, no doubt ably abetted by their fantastic name. If you like what you hear, Pitt the Elder are unsurprisingly touring shortly in support of their new album, and you can catch their tour dates below.
At the End of the Day comes out on Friday 20 March.
Friday 3 April – Brisbane @ 4ZZZ Carpark
Saturday 4 April – Brisbane @ Crowbar
Sunday 5 April – Sydney @ Frankie’s Pizza
Saturday 11 April – Canberra @ Magpie’s
Saturday 25 April – Melbourne @ The Old Bar
Saturday 2 May – Adelaide @ Crown & Anchor
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