With increasing levels of gentrification in areas of Melbourne that my mum still thinks are inhabited by bikies and crack heads, I often wonder if there is anything that was lost when these suburbs were “improved”. An indescribably pleasant grit, an imperfect charm that only occurred between two people before the advent of Starbucks. Melbourne rockers The Peep Tempel personify this bygone era in their sophomore LP, a collection of interpersonal Tales (see what I did there?) imbued with the pleasantly unsettling parts of male roughness that makes appealing in retrospect.
The Peep Tempel’s sophomore LP, Tales is dark and full of uneasiness, and yet equal in its vibrant rock energy.
Tales carries with it an overarching sense of unrest, anxiety and darkness; like when you walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night. Despite how genuinely sinister a large portion of the album is, it remains an awesome collection of foot stomping, head banging Aussie rock songs, that should be played at full volume while driving your ute to the pub to get rowdy with your mates.
The opening track Gettin’ on By starts the album on a more upbeat note that I expected. The fast ‘get up and dance’ drums, bright chords and a jubilant vocal style reminiscent of The Hives, make it a perfect song for road trips to the beach on a sunny day. It’s almost too upbeat to lead an album with otherwise dark content, but it gets you in the right mood to see the beauty in the darkness that follows.
And then there was Vicky the Butcher. This chaotic, grungy letter to a butcher’s lover who’s sick of all the animals, quickly became my favourite track on the album – it’s so viscerally soul crushingly , but it makes you want to jump up and down.
The barely decipherable Untitled, is by far the most interesting track on Tales, its simplicity lends its self to rambling vocals (punctuated by occasional c-words) that will resonate with anyone who has even been forced into conversation with a pension aged regular at a dive bar in the country.
Tales concludes with The Opera of Lester Moore, a gloomy and intriguing rock opera that should really be fleshed out on Broadway. Having already met ‘Lester’ on The Peep Tempel’s self-titled LP, I was pleased to see his return, this time bringing with him a slew of murky riffs and ominous vocal harmonies that neatly bring the album to a spine-chilling close.
Tales dropped on the 3rd of Oct, and the band quickly followed it up on the 8th with a music video for Big Fish; depicting a weird back alley dog show that could be straight out of a Guy Richie movie. Not breaking stride, a series of dates around the country has seen the trio stirring local crowds into a frenzy. Keep an eye out for these guys in the coming weeks as they are bringing their seedy atmosphere to a dodgy bar near you.
Friday October 17th – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Saturday October 18th – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane
Friday October 24th – The Lansdowne, Sydney
Friday October 31st – The Reverence, Melbourne
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