Ivy St – Courting

Picture a house on a suburban street in the inner-city. Out the back of the house is an old, asbestos riddled garage. Can you see it? In that garage are three young dudes pumping out some immense sounds. That street, friends, is called Ivy St.

Whilst the house might be imaginary, the garage punk is mostly real. The three Hobartians from Ivy St are back with their second album Courting, this time by the way of Melbourne. After forming and fronting up an EP in 2008, the boys dropped their debut album Picture Machine in 2009, which garnered praise as powerful, confident and melodically bludgeoning post-punk. The next year they released a 7” before the three drifted to various parts of the globe. The pull however was too strong and Ivy St was relocated to Melbourne. This geographical change has also evidently brought a change in the setting of their sound.

As the album commences, the move away from ruthless punk is apparent, whilst the lyrical content remains as visceral. Opening track 1980 is a gloomy, psychedelic tale of apathy, while Glenorchy is a swaggering ballad of more classic construction, elevating the uneasy mood. A Minute’s Notice and Calamity bring even parts of aggravation and optimism, before Courting for the Morning’s heavy base line brings the tone back into the dark shadows. The casual talky vocals atop drudging guitars conjure memories of The Triffids or Grinderman.

ivy st band

Despite their shift towards gloom-pop stylings, Ivy St still bring some punk sensibilities. The Bartender is packed with squealing and distorted guitars and strained vocals, until The Camera’s Pierce immediately contrasts it; a slower ballad of social media pitfalls to a softly strummed guitar. Carmel Keeps a Bucket commences with boom crash percussion and spoken vocals until chaos breaks loose via echoey guitars that would shred in the live format. The lead single from the album, Ten Ounces in the Sticks, is less about beer and more about the loss of identity, such frailty evident in the hesitant guitar riff. Nearest Container ends the album with a drawn out frantic piece, the rockiest of the collection.

A departure from Hobart and more jagged punk to poppier pastures has proved a good move for Ivy St. They are still able to convey intense rawness amongst bleaker atmospheres, the lyrics remaining as humorous and poignant. They will be Courting a few select cities around the country in April/May, catch them if you can.



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