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“Mate, there’s nothing I’d rather kill myself with than a Marlboro Gold.” That may tell you all you need to know about Brisbane’s The Durries, who have taken over from The Beards as the supergroup of jokesters everyone loves.
Smoke up, breathe deep, The Durries are here. Seeing as you can’t smoke anywhere these days, let them satisfy your cravings from the comfort of your own home.
Comprised of eight members from Boss Moxi, Twin Haus, and Baskervillain, The Durries make entertaining music all about (you guessed it) cigarettes. Their ‘Cig Pop’ EP We Build Schools is a rollicking seven track ode to those things people still can’t get enough of: darts. Smokes, ciggies, death sticks if you will, whatever they are called, The Durries certainly advocate their virtues.
Too much in fact according to triple J Unearthed, who banned Marlboro Gold because the song contained commercial references that were unduly frequent. As a result they were told to submit a new song or change the lyrics of the existing one. This seems a little silly considering The Durries are essentially just taking the piss. It’s also massively hypocritical with songs such as Little Red’s repetitive Coca-Cola receiving loads of airtime on the station back in 2006, and Mac Demarco’s cigarette themed Ode To Viceroy also being played regularly.
Controversy aside We Build Schools is highly impressive considering the band recorded it over twenty-four hours amongst six cartons of beer and “More pouches of Winnie Blue than you could poke a (cancer) stick at.” Upon listening to lead track Marlboro Gold the first thing I was reminded of was The Porkers front man Pete Cooper. That rough, raspy delivery struck chords with me. The similarity continues through the whole record, much to my delight.
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Opener Ode To Brian situates us somewhere in the Wild West where it’s all too easy to imagine men lounging around a saloon blissfully puffing away. Marlboro Gold launches stylishly into some great foot-tapping rock. Never have I been taken so quickly into a pub. The Durries are playing in the corner while the rest of us smoke, bet on the ponies and cheer on our footy team, and everyone is having a great time. It’s damn good fun, it should really be as simple as that.
BnH Smooth slows it down a bit, but the references to smoking and drinking flow in the narrative-based track that teeters between cynicism, sarcasm, and enjoyment; although what sticks out most is that you’ve “Got to smoke the fucking smooth shit”. It builds up frantically towards the end, leading us into the funk-driven Lucky Strike. What is impressed upon us by this stage is the diversity these musicians can display. Their instruments frequently shift between punk, rock, funk, and pop.
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Camel is a head-nodder: a lighter affair that brings back the fun and really drives home the Pete Cooper comparison for me. Here rhymes drive the song along until it reaches the joyful chorus of “Camel!”. I immediately thought of Jet upon the opening of Winnie Blues, that confident rocky opening solidifying The Durries’ signature sound.
For the first section we don’t hear anything particularly new, but then the boys blow us a surprise, delving into a long, atmospheric – dare I say smoky? – instrumental break reflecting a bit of Dark Side-era Pink Floyd. It’s a slightly strange way to end the record but not unsatisfactory. It shows that while the band don’t take themselves too seriously, they don’t treat their music as a gag either. They have the ability to craft good songs, good music regardless of the lyrical content.
Despite the fact there’s nothing overtly serious about The Durries, their talent can’t be dismissed. We Build Schools is a pleasing listen, whether you’re a smoker or not, that brings forth energy and attitude, along with addictive weekend vibes It’s no surprise then to see The Durries recently supported The Peep Temple, and I’m sure there’ll be many great gigs to come where band and crowd alike can revel in their emphysema inducing rock.
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