Melbourne band The Baudelaires have gladly exceeded our expectations. Their debut EP Be A Baudelaire! landed on our desk (physically – like on a CD) on Friday arvo and we’re super glad we gave it a spin.
Want to get that awesome Baudelaires experience without listening to The Baudelaires? Here’s Happy’s super useful and productive guide to doing just that!
I’ve never been to Melbourne for any extended amount of time, and I have no desire to do so. People tell me that the music scene down south is far ‘better’ than it is up here in the glorious people’s republic of old Sydney town, but despite this conviction (seemingly held by everyone), I am yet to quantify just what this ‘betterness’ is. Is it more bands? Is it a more democratic industry? Is it a different cultural outlook on the performing arts? Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be producing an exceptional number of good bands.
Enter The Baudelaires. With a name and a black and white album artwork that reminds me of two distinct but equally awful cultural phenomena, I was either expecting an album of uninteresting blues rock, or the soundtrack to the most cringeworthy of recent artistic fads, cabaret. Cabaret is just the worst.
What I definitely wasn’t expecting was a slowmotion 60’s Americana band, à la the psychburban stylings of The Dead Heads, The Grease Arrestor and The Walking Who. They aren’t a shedload better than these bands, and beyond the higher tempo jams of Heel Waver and Broke Down Blues it’s awfully similar stuff. Think taking a 10″ proto-punk record from the 60’s and slowing it down to 33 1/3. From the moment Dream Salts drips through the speakers, a wonderfully Newcombe atmosphere is mapped out for the rest of the record. Perhaps it sounded so sweet to me because of the sweet release of not having to listen to another blues-rock band.
It also brings up a pertinent question about a band’s aesthetic. It could have been a crazy missed opportunity not to listen to The Baudelaires, merely because of the plain packaged CD and the vaguely early 20th century housewife on the cover telling me to Be A Baudelaire! I mean, if the band weren’t named after the family in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (which had serious aesthetic problems itself now that I look back on it) and their album art was just vague kaleidoscopic colours, perhaps I wouldn’t have had such a hesitance to listen.
It almost seems that 21st century psych bands have become so embroiled in their own aesthetic that when someone like The Baudelaires switch it up like this, it’s a real weird feeling which I can’t seem to reconcile. But hey, we’re pretty glad they went with this album art, because it’s given me a hell of a lot more to write about.
Be A Baudelaire! is out now – listen and purchase via Bandcamp.
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