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Just when you were thinking there weren’t enough fair dinkum Australian pub rock bands around, Shearin’ have popped their heads up, armed with a mouth full of Aussie twang and acerbic wit. Joining the likes of The Smith Street Band, Zeahorse, The Peep Tempel, Courtney Barnett, and Luca Brasi in celebrating poetic pubby rock, Shearin’ practically ooze Australian essence.
Angry Aussie politics, a bit of nationalism, a trip on mescaline and tales of crocodiles clash wonderfully with Sydney bush rockers, Shearin’.
Based in Sydney and born from the remains of synth outfit Bad Jeep, Shearin’ have recently released a 4-track ep titled Cheerin’ in which you’ll hear conversations about budget cuts, Joe Hockey, mescaline, train trips to nowhere, the smell of rain, crocodiles, MasterChef, Telstra. And we’re only scratching the surface here of what the group has to offer in terms of pure Aussie idioms.
Speaking about their unique style, Jeremy Hyland of the band says the band is trying stay entwined with the current conversations around this great nation of ours. “Like the old call-centre water-cooler convo. We bend the narrative around a song ’til it fits. I guess we tend to throw a in bit more substance than the usual chop you hear about the mountains and the rivers – it’s a lot of fun.”
Lyrically the songs are formed from back and forth interactions between Hyland, Sydney artist Willy Ackerman, who the band say is one to watch out for. “Mr Ackerman bears the ultimate gift of the gab; the silver tongue of a thousand lizards. He’s cultivated half of Arnhem land on the back of his trucker blue and he’s comin atcha like a dash of dynamo, disappearing dirt faster than you can eat a bubble-o’-bill in a bush fire.”
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And with that you get a sense of what Shearin’ are offering. Spouting “g’days”, mentioning “togs” (or tongs? It doesn’t matter), “barfly’s”, and “crocodiles”, the average foreigner would have a hard time deciphering what Shearin’ are on about. Most of the time the music takes you to a backyard or a campfire somewhere to reinforce and infuse the songs with culture and nostalgia that can only be found in our country of Aussie battlers. Hyland confirms this, saying; “I guess, we all tend to dream about how good it was back in the day, a time where the dream was to buy a nice piece of land or a fish n’ chip shop by the sea. Instead, many are feeling that it’s a dream that’s slipping away. We go there and romanticise on these ideals in the tunes.”
On Cheerin’, the band are political, socially awkward, dissatisfied by employment, lonely, intoxicated and disillusioned, with songs that rollick and roll along with surprisingly eager energy given the lyrical content. There’s both honesty and frustration imbued within the bustling bush-rock that Shearin’ are performing, yet there’s also fun to be had, a great way to offset some of the heavier concepts they play with. I don’t know if bush-rock is an official genre or not but that’s what I’m going with. It’s rare to hear a band like this these days but Hyland is of the opinion Shearin’ are part of a comeback for punk and rock in Australia:
“Australian rock and punk are genres that are symbolic of the pub rock scene from the 80’s and 90’s. We think we’re headed for a resurgence. There was a great time in Australian music when people at a pub gig would flow freely onto the streets, sinkin’ tinnies ‘n’ smoking darts without a care in the world. This is why we strive to play more live shows over anything else. They’re so much more fun and they’re synonymous with why we do what we do.”
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As fans, we can only assume these words are true and we can hear a lot more of Shearin’ and others like them, harmonicas and all, because there is something decidedly enjoyable about reminiscence. Despite the very real problems some people face in Australia, it’s sometimes romantic to muse on the melancholy of struggling through life. Shearin’ take this even further – evoking a mirage of life on the land, where Australia might seem like another country altogether to what you see when you sit down and watch the news at night.
You can catch them next at a show with Peter Bibby (what a perfect match) at Waywards (The Bank Hotel) in Newtown, Sydney on the 27th of May. Also be on the lookout for a side project named Kelpie, who the band fittingly name as their spirit animal.