Tempura Nights – R.I.P. CHIX

Tempura Nights are a three piece from Brisbane, taking slacker pop to new levels of slack. Their latest single, R.I.P. CHIX was released last Monday – rising nearly immediately from the ashes of guitarist Alice’s previous project Go Violets, who played their last show that weekend. This is where, normally, a review would compare their sound to stuff like the beach and ripped shorts and smoking weed with girls at sandy bonfires cause you’re publishing a cool article on your cool zine and you wanna sound like a cool guy. Are we so conditioned by the music industry to assume that everything with scuzzy guitars and tom heavy drums should mean we think “I should buy a surfboard”? Perhaps we are, cause that’s what I’m thinking. Now where’s that debit card…

Tempura Nights rip chix

Alice’s post-Go Violets project Tempura Nights is a lightly battered pop-punk-indie three piece with a small catalogue which packs a big punch.

Most of this Tempura Nights stuff is pretty solid Brisbane-indie fare. Think Best Coast pre-Target Christmas Sale Ads, shit like Over The Ocean off that first EP and the Daytrotter sesh – real lo-fi vibez. Intriguingly, all this lo-fi cali-slacker stuff (in it’s current form) is a sound that’s going on 5 years old – that tragic period for a genre where it starts to sound awfully dated. But every now and then a band like Tempura will come along and put a couple of “slacker” songs out and I’ll realise I’m not sick of gritty, reverberated pop songs yet.

Compare and contrast ‘slacker’ with other stuff about five years old which just doesn’t sound good anymore – google “Indie Albums 2009” and you’ll get vaguely indie psychedelics like Tame Impala, Smith Westerns and Girls or freaky-electronic-minimal-folkish-alternative like Grizzly Bear, Beach House and The XX. Seriously, when was the last time you listened to Veckatimest? When was the last time you wanted to listen to Veckatimest? December 31st, 2009, I’ll bet. Perhaps due to its simplicity and the childlike innocence of the stoner character, the varieties of pop, punk and surf labeled ‘slacker’ have survived as a listenable genre – certainly for longer than I would have pegged it after listening to King Of The Beach for the first time.

R.I.P. CHIX is a really good sounding single, mostly because it really captures the mood of whatever it is that ‘slacker’ music projects. The short scale guitars sound hoopier with every strum, and the drumkit sounds loose enough to fall apart at any time, while a sleepy tempo change ironically wakes you up from R.I.P.‘s eggy haze. I dunno why it’s eggy, but something about this track sounds like eggs. Perhaps that opening riff is a bit scrambled, or perhaps it’s because when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll cook eggs for dinner. Let’s call it omelette punk.

The three piece have a couple of other songs out there on the webs, Fliez being a charming mic-in-the-middle-of-the-room recording and Cocky is lyrically a very Best Coast affair – the final refrain crying “You make me mad – you make me mad – you make me mad – you make me maaaaad”. Could slacker punk be so timeless because it deals with eternal, timeless themes? What about the individual in question is making her mad? I don’t know. Her boyfriend definitely won’t know. Even she probably doesn’t know. Cocky‘s voice is a release, an unpoetic yet emotional cry for help among a sea of pretentious, Canadian musical desperadoes that don’t even try to know how you feel.