There are some absolutely great underground bands kicking around Hobart at the moment. Tree House, Naked and Heart Beach are all weaving addictive idiosyncratic and experimental lo-fi sounds. Capturing some of the bulldozer punk and shambolic pop of their electrifying live performances on debut album 6 For Gold All The Weathers prove themselves to be another welcome addition to this burgeoning Tasmanian scene.
Marinated with introspection and punctuated with sardonic imagery, All The Weathers’ debut album 6 For Gold is some surprisingly fun punk rock.
6 For Gold kicks off with a song titled ABC. For those not expecting a Jackson 5 cover there may be a foreboding sense of the absurdity to come. Antagonistic sing-song vocals parody a melody burnt deeply into our collective cultural psyche. Quickly thereafter a chorus lyric delivered via a vitriolic punk sneer announces, “Fuck the ABC!”
There have been points in history where music has had a message. Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind decried the Vietnam War while simultaneously providing an anthem for the American civil rights movement. John Lennon’s Imagine asked the listener to dismiss materialism and non-secular thought. The derisive lyric God Save the Queen delivered by John Lyndon of the Sex Pistols polarised a nation and energised a generation of disaffected youth.
The idea that pop music is something which can carry greater meaning seems to have diminished with time. While countless generations have appropriated the sounds and imagery of their antecedents few convey the urgency, antagonism and counter cultural messages of their forbears.
Casting cynicism upon a beloved media institution as well as programs like Round the Twist and Playschool All The Weathers turn nostalgia on its head. While ABC might not be an epoch in the annuals of Australian history, what resonates is a sense of light-hearted subversion. While the message might be crude, brash and tongue-in-cheek, it perfectly articulates a shared feeling of disillusionment following a youth spent passively absorbing myopic state sponsored television.
The irreverence continues with Wipeout (possibly the greatest and only song ever written about shark culling), Weather Report (a zealous sendup of Tasmanian weather reports) and Witches (taboo -pushing satirical analysis of cultural phenomena Wicca).
Changing the tone of things, ragged duet Beans contemplates the meaning of noodles and life itself. Themes of isolation are expressed via dejected lyrics like “You never know until you don’t know how to be alone.” Channelling the jangle and working class charm of Melbourne’s Dick Diver, introspection is juxtaposed with mundane descriptions of household items. Beans provides another great moment for the album before the track devolves into an absurdist cappellla sing-along.
1838 melds dissonant guitar noise, distraught vocals and atmospheric ambience to weave a dark narrative set in a colonial homestead. Driven by post-punk guitar licks, instrumental CWA continues with the ominous overtones. Commencing with a ludicrous drum solo Jon Love is a dissonant yet upbeat jam which sardonically derides hubristic Cassanova “Jon Love.”
Angry, introspective, dark and yet more than anything fun 6 For Gold is a beautiful mess. While the album explores some darker themes these are ultimately counter-balanced by earnest song writing, anecdotal irreverence and an endearing lo-fi charm. All The Weathers’ debut is a gem of underground Australiana.