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In the world of punk music, many different branches have emerged over the years. From the early days of rebellion and anarchy brought about by punk heroes like the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, all the way through to noughties legends flying the flag of pop-punk like Green Day and Blink 182, some things have remained constant.
A sense of questioning of societal norms in punk lyrics, with undertones of angst and often simplistic and to-the-point sounds, have come to define the genre across a number of interpretations. A take on punk that is unmistakably Australian comes from NSW rockers, You Beauty. After a critically acclaimed concept album entitled Jersey Flagg chronicling the life of a troubled footballer, You Beauty are back with Illywhacka, a story of the modern day menagerie that is internet dating.
Illywhacka kicks off with Strong Connection, plunging the listener immediately into a trip down memory lane by sampling the harsh serenade of the almost ancient relic that is an internet dial-up tone. Swiftly following is a catchy, clicking punk track describing the tumultuous navigation experienced on an average dating site. The track sets the tone both musically and lyrically for the remainder of the 12-track LP.
Continuing strong and showcasing some even beefier vocals is heaver cut, Take Every Cent. Over a swamp of muddy, reverb drenched guitars comes an angst-driven vocal delivery that is paradoxically sweet in tone. Illywhacka cements itself sonically form an early stage in the proceedings and doesn’t let up for a second throughout the remaining track. However, the album is not without it’s highlights.
Romeo and Julie introduces a much needed change in the familiar guitar soundscapes with an 80s-tinged saxophone lead; no doubt a homage to Australian icons INXS in a mixture that some may also evoke memories of current Aussie favourites: The Rubens. You Beauty occasionally err perhaps too far on the satirical Aussie side for some tastes which tends to take away from the tightly woven, squeaky clean songwriting with gritty arrangements and beautiful vocal harmonies.
On Pins Drop and First Pump, while continuing their satirical lyrical facade, You Beauty masterfully produce some old school bass tones with hints of the Smiths and The Cure in their shimmering reverberating guitars and crystal clear vocals. Can’t Say It wraps up the album in solemn style with candy sweet vocals combined with dark sided bass and guitars.
The track epitomises the overall sentiment of the album and is a welcome reprieve from the satirical into the serious. And while Illywhacka sometimes threatens to become a journey into the familiar, its absorbing caricature of modern romance spun through razor-sharp songwriting make it a piece we can all appreciate in one way or another.
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