record reviews august 2020


Pop Up Jim Bob (Cherry Red)


Formely founder and frontman of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, it’s been seven years since he released any new material (though he has fruitfully spent the time writing novels), returning now with this 11-track (though, to be fair, one’s a 30 second instrumental prelude and one’s the 25-second single 2020 WTF!) collection of catchy and thoughtful indie pop that opens with the chugging medi coverage themed Jo’s Got Papercuts (“Jo knows it is what it is now, she knows she can’t dance to The Smiths now”), through the heavier riffing of Kidstrike!’s snapshot of modern London life, the character sketch of the musically abrasive Ted Talks, the spoken dark observations of Truce and the hollow spooked drums of #Thoughts And Prayers with its sardonic commentary on refugees, social injustice and the downtrodden which also slips in a reference to the Salsibury poisonings.

The glamp stomp of Barry’s On Safari (In His Safari Suit) shows he’s not lost his sense of playful if acerbic humour while he wraps up with the poignantly mournful state of the world lament You’re Cancelled And We’re Done. Anger to dance to. Mike Davies


From a View (Spunk Records)


Addressing themes of identity, personal crossroads and the misuse of power, the debut LP from the Melbourn four-piece strikes a musical balance between folksy acoustic and rolling indie guitar roots rock, getting underway with the pace-gathering guitar ringing Water’s Edge, turning to a choppier rhythm for Matter Of Time, the band at times sounding like a rootsier version of Midnight Oil, setting social conscience to accessible catchy melodies. Of particular note is Don’t Pick That Scratch who looks at the darker aspects of Australia’s past (“we can’t continue to cover up/A true history that’s real”) while set to a guitar jangle It Was All Going So Well is directed at its attitudes to immigrants )”A minority arrives who lead different lives/But share our toast of pushing work aside/A remark slips out intended to hurt them”).

The lyrics can be sometimes overwritten (“With a mongrelised thank you in the mother tongue/A villa with service, new linen each day/Trash discarded, and eyes open to extravagant buffets”) where a more direct, simpler approach might have been more effective, but they still carry a punch while the music is firmly rooted in classic Australian rock traditions. Mike Davies 2020