Music

How The Gun Club and C.W. Stoneking inspired Supermodels’ debut EP ‘French Kiss’

Melbourne quartet Supermodels have dished up a serve of rough and ready Americana on French Kiss. Callum Elvins and Oscar Sargeant chat about their inspirations on their debut.

The twangs and jangles of On Chelsea Street don’t take long to infect you when you hit play on French Kiss, the debut EP from Melbourne outfit, Supermodels. Evocative imagery in the lyrics, singalong choruses, with country lead lines cutting through them — these guys know how to bring the party.

Read on as Callum Elvins and Oscar Sargeant from the band chat through the inspiration behind French Kiss, track by glorious track.

Supermodels, french kiss

ON CHELSEA STREET (Callum Elvins)

I wrote this during a phase of real Gun Club obsession, which will come as a surprise to no one. It ended up being more melodic and less dark than Jeffery Lee Pierce and company, but the influence is still clear. I felt the song was completely written and I’d said everything I wanted to, but it was less than two minutes long, so I tacked this slightly ridiculous, very hick country outro on it which really made the song for me. Fraser’s honky-tonk pianner is one of my favourite moments on the whole EP.

HOBART (Oscar Sargeant)

The themes in this one are those that people can relate to, relationships, mates, hope, fun. Written on acoustic guitar, it comes to life when we play it as a band. The input we all have in every song comes out in the recording, such as the drumming and the solo. Hopefully, people enjoy this ‘easy listening’ tune.

ASTRAL SURFER (Callum Elvins)

The riff from this is vaguely derived from a C.W. Stoneking song called On A Desert Isle, but the jaunty rhythm and bright guitars frame it more as a ’60s pop song. I had the phrase ‘Astral Surfer’ kicking around for a while; I thought it could even be a cool band name, but it ended up sparking the lyrics to this number which are a pretty straightforward ode to youth and innocence. It reminds me a bit of Village Green Preservation Society-era Kinks overall; I’m a huge fan of Ray Davies’ songwriting.

Supermodels, french kiss

ROUND THE BEND (Callum Elvins)

This was one of those fortunate moments when I was strumming some chords without any great purpose and a whole song just popped out. I like the immediacy of it; it definitely owes a bit to the early-‘2000s garage revival, Strokes, Libertines et al. The lyrics address the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with poor communication between two people; things that are left unsaid then bubble to the surface. I’m always attracted to the contrast between darker themes and unashamed pop melodies, which is what I tried to go for here.

DANCING OUT THE DOOR (Oscar Sargeant)

Probably the most chill one on the EP. It came out of the time just after our major lockdown last year. Although the structure works really well, the lyrics are the part that I like the most — centred around good friends, good times and good vibes. Makes us think of simpler times.

French Kiss is out now. To listen and find out more about Supermodels, visit their Linktree.