Fuck I'm glad New Estate
exist, cause otherwise I woulda had to invent them.
I should explain. It's just that this whatever-revival we're currently mired in seems too often to pick style over substance. Look at the pretty but uninspiring nu-post-punk JJJ-fodder of The Temper Trap
or Young and Restless
. The self-consciously choreographed art-wack of Aleks and the Ramps
. Even faves The Basics
and Little Red
are as much about the sharp suits and classic-hits covers as the catchy tunes.
New Estate aren't so photogenic.
And yes, I picked the worst photo I could find to prove the point, but forget that - it's the tunes that make this. Is It Real?
is my favourite record of the year.
The touchstones are old Sonic Youth
and The Pixies
and My Bloody Valentine
- but I never really got into any of them, not like I was supposed to. At the time I was listening to U2 and M Jackson on Sun FM, and by the time I caught Loveless
there was such an incredible burden of appreciation that I never felt the excitement and energy.
But fuck, that's all I've ever asked for from music, and that's what New Estate have given me. They're kids in a recording studio, playing straight through it twice then moving on, popping pills to make the most of the time, everyone taking in turns to swing at the vocals until someone nails it at the very edge of their range - or missing it, who cares? The riffs appear from nowhere just in time, the bass player's got his eyes closed and a ciggie in his mouth but he's got the notes, everyone's in the moment, and the drummer runs out of drums halfway through the fill but sticks the landing, just.
Among about six great tracks, two tracks make the album. Herge
is the single, for want of a better term, requiring about thirty seconds to catch the "if I were you/ I wouldn't go there" whole-band chorus over nimble guitar and a tearing Sonic Youth-feel. It's over in two and a half minutes and on repeat.
"I've had many but there's been none like you"
But even better is the preceding track, The Rubber Carpet
, an oh-so-gentle dual guitar jam, steady beat, simple strings, wistful vocals. The first sign of what's to come is the two-octave vocal jump halfway through the first verse; quickly pegged back, but showing the purpose. And, after four-and-a-half minutes, after the meandering bridge - everyone screaming at once, strings in echo, the bass at the front of the stage, drums rolling, rolling - a glorious indie-rock climax. And everyone in the room's right there with them.
Not to mention Let Somebody Down
. And that riff at the start of While You Were Talking
. And OK Alright
. At times they push a little too close to the influences - Last Train to Belgrave
is a little too Pixies - but still not in a bad way.
And from a pragmatic point of view, it's pretty likely there's a grunge revival just around the corner (after all, Dinosaur Jr just released a new album). If and when it gets here, these guys are gonna sign with Geffen and get a weekly residency at Rod Laver Arena, and all these coolsie kids will be putting their skinny jeans away and coming along for lessons. You should get in early.GIG
: Album Launch at Exile on Smith St
, May 25th, with Panel of Judges
and Lindsey Low Hand
: Following Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
around the country (for us it's the Hi-Fi next week).MP3
: Get Herge
from my previous post
: New Estate tracks on the JB Hi-Fi site