Saturday, June 3, 2017

School Damage - School Damage

For some band, naming their genre probably doesn't take a committee of experts.  I mean, know one was seriously tempted to label Metallica 'jangle pop', or Orange Juice 'death metal' (although knowing the power of the internet, someone, in their parents' basement, is telling his or her mates that their ticket is playing "Blue Boy" as a death metal song).  But for other bands, there is more of a challenge putting a finger on their own slice of the indie world and giving it a name.  And this -- yes, there really is a point to this -- brings us to the 'wobble pop' of Melbourne's School Damage.  I must confess, I had my doubts about the term, but the keys really do have a wobbling sound.  Fortunately, not only is the wobble both interesting and pleasant, but the rest of the music is damn good as well.

The songs on the band's self-titled debut address the issues of young modern life.  The atmosphere is superficially DIY, as well as alt-bubblegum (hey, we can construct genre labels as well!), but don't be fooled.  The performances are focused and tight.  They can sound like a almost out of control circus band, a bunch of punk thrashers, a taut post punk outfit or a Gothic folk project.  But whatever the guise, it is effortlessly charming and, I suspect, sounds exactly the way the band intends.  So, in keeping with the circus keys, be ready for a wild ride.  But like the circus, you'll be smiling and come back for more.

The band was founded by Carolyn Hawkins (of Chook Race (one of our favorites) and Pronto) and Jake Robertson (of Ausmuteants, Hierophants, Frowning Clouds).  The band has since filled out with Jeff Raty and Dani Damage.  This is their debut album, and it is released on a Chapter Music, which rapidly has become a tastemaker for Melbourne area bands.  Check the Bandcamp link below for a full stream and acquisition details.

By the way, the album was mastered by Mikey Young, because, well, of course it was.  He mixes much of what is good in the world.  I think he mixed my oatmeal this morning, and it was delicious.

Bandcamp for album
Chapter Music page for album

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