Thursday, November 05, 2009
Following on from two EPs and three singles released on a variety of credible overseas indie pop labels, local wonders Summer Cats have shown no slip in quality since their 2007 formation, and Songs For Tuesdays, still resident in the American college music charts three months after its release on Slumberland, is perhaps their greatest achievement yet.
Beginning with the bracing rush of Let’s Go which, along with second song Hey You, has been garnering airplay both ‘youth’ and community stations, the album coasts along on a wave of organ and scuzzy guitar, never pulling the genre-typical calling cards of dewy-eyed nostalgia, arrested adolescence, or mumbled navel-gazing poppetry. Neither is Songs For Tuesdays as intense or garish as the cover may suggest, with lyrics suggesting rather than instructing and shifts in tone from Scott Steven’s voice to bassist Hugh Owen’s who makes the 96-second Fulton Girls and dour Maybe Pile his own.
Mid-album track In June is worth the price of admission alone, a sparkling slice of keening autumnal melancholy that vies with earlier single Lonely Planet for song most likely to be listened to on repeat. Nick Batterham’s production showcases the songs perfectly, never letting them sound cluttered while letting the harmonies between Stevens and co-vocalist and keyboardist Irene Drossinos take the songs where they want to. This is an album that more than achieves what it sets out to, in fact it’s hard to think of a fresher more overtly joyous Australian album of recent years and unlike many albums released by upbeat indie pop groups, the welcome isn’t worn out even by the 19th (and counting) listen.
Australian bands with an unashamedly pop outlook have often has to explore avenues overseas to have their worth realised and to make a living from playing and writing, so it’s refreshing to see the enthusiastic reception the album is receiving in Australia and elsewhere. So far press in New York, Tokyo and Dublin are singing the praises of Songs For Tuesdays. Be a shame to miss out on this unpretentious backyard phenomenon and their 33-minute opus.