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From its most humble beginnings in antiquity, music has evolved drastically, and in ways perhaps even Mozart himself couldn’t have predicted. Picture, if you will, old mate W.A. Mozart, sent from the past to listen to today’s music and consider his reaction. Perhaps this mental apparition will birth a consideration: who would’ve thought that those beginnings could have led to what we call music today. Genres in particular that spring to mind that Mozart would have adored in their chaos and recalcitrant demolition of musical conventions, are noise and punk; antipodes to Mozart on the musical globe, but sharing said globe harmoniously nevertheless. Many bands have thrived in violent, ear splitting power from The Stooges, to Sonic Youth and now Sydney’s own Us The Band.
Sydney’s newest connoisseurs of cacophony Us The Band are making some serious sonic shockwaves with their raw punk leanings – and they’re serious contenders for the country’s loudest two piece.
Though Mozart, in a strange twist of fate, didn’t make Jesse the guitarist/vocalist’s list of influences, others such as Zen Arcade and Cloud Nothings made the grade, lending their own spices to Us The Band’s tantalising musical concoction. The band is made up of only two members, a fact contrary to their enormous fury in sound.
Jesse Bayley and Nick Mabbitt, the connoisseurs of cacophony, met in a separate band and built their initial catalogue of songs on shelved ideas. “We jammed it out, played it a bit faster and we thought it sounded decent, but mainly I think it was just real fun to play,” said Bayley of their first foray into the now established project.
On their recent single release, And I Will, the band’s unrelenting power becomes apparent. Wailing, squawking vocals that remain miraculously controlled provide the somewhat Jack White-esque melody to what is otherwise an utter tidal wave of sound. Lyrically, there is an overwhelming sense of frustration and self-loathing, traits that lend themselves so beautifully to their powerhouse musical counterpart. What’s truly remarkable yet, equally troubling to mere mortals, is the fact that such raw power can come from a band of only two.
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Beginning in the studio, the boys deciphered a number of tricks that lent themselves to such massiveness, not least of which is the doubling of guitars with differing tones, lending an easily distinguishable increase in ferocity. The boy’s recording triumph did not come without guidance, however; “Owen (Penglis from Straight Arrows) helped immensely on the tracks,” says Bayley,”…he knows exactly what sound will work and how to get it.”
The band also cites some rather unconventional influences in their sound: “We like Hot Chocolate…we cover them pretty much every show.” You heard it here first, folks; if you want a taste of Hot Chocolate blended with the nectar of pure, uninhibited noise, you best snap up a ticket to one of their gigs, lickety split.
The band has not gone without success in the live arena either, recently heading to Brisbane to perform at the coveted BIGSOUND festival, and to rave reviews at that. Many have commented on the insanity of the band’s live shows with their 2-minute scorchers burning holes into people’s skulls from which their minds were sufficiently blown. Physical exhaustion at a performance is inevitability for both the discerning mosher and band alike. BIGSOUND was a big moment for the band and was a surprising taste of a “vaguely professional setting” as Jesse so modestly put it.
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Outside of corporate soirees, the duo tend not to rest on their laurels, continuously gifting the masses with pure, punk prowess and ridiculous levels of lascivious, dangerous fun fresh from the garage. Us The Band can soon be found back in the studio working on what they hope to become a full-length album. Not ones to fire at all cylinders unless absolutely necessary it seems, the band observe that to fill an average album length with 2 minute songs would be “way too many songs to write.” Rather they “might need to throw a few 10 minute psych jams into the mix.” No complaints here.
So look forward to the band’s foray into, perhaps, some exciting musical experiments. In the meantime, Us The Band’s debut EP But Where Do They Go is being primed for release and is due February 2016. It is sure to be a frenzied assault on the senses, forcing fight-danced exhaustion in its possessed listeners, much like the band’s previous singles And I Will and Fallout. Seriously, Mozart would love this shit.
But Where Do They Go is out February 19th via Rice Is Nice.