A return after a time away from the Sydney four-piece. I have to admit to knowing nothing about them prior to this but the bio says they’ve been playing together at least ten years. Beyond a US tour a few years ago, I’m not sure they’ve raised much profile outside Australia, but coming back to the studio for this record has worked out well for them.
There’s a couple of tracks that seem to have had single releases a couple of years back, however this is the first full album since 2016s Torana Dreamin. Given the references in the press info to ‘no longer having time for sycophants’ I wonder if there’s a bit of a story behind the two-plus years between the singles and the album…
Regardless of whatever might have gone on around getting the album recorded and released, it’s getting a tasty-looking vinyl edition through Copper Feast records (London), a little label/distro with various interesting bits and bobs. They’ve also apparently some sort of connection with the great Down Under scuzz scene which I’m sure Zeahorse will be very happy with. What you have to do to get one of their records over to Australia from London, while avoiding extortionate shipping costs, I don’t know, so maybe all 250 will be destined for our Northern Hemisphere turntables.
I can imagine Zeahorse being a band that come across very well live, but while there’s a snotty punk attitude throughout, the sound is markedly clean and spacious. Tones are fat and distorted, vocals are queasy and occasionally filtered through delay, but everything has space in the mix. Drums are hit hard and with precision, and the intent is always to keep things moving, rather than battering us to the floor.
Tones are fat and distorted, vocals are queasy and occasionally filtered through delay…
The guitars buzz and throb in good noise-rock style as a setting for some distinctly Australian words about work-social bullshit, retail therapy, wasted weekends and shame. The title, Let’s Not (And Say We Did), is one of the better bits of album-naming I’ve come across in a while as it gives a good sense of the bitter humour the band bring. I’ve not yet dug into each character study and satirical rant, but look forward to doing so!
There’s a freewheeling swagger to Zeahorse (check out the bass work on Guilty) but all wound up tight and far from sloppy. With their noisy punk melodic-ism, I was put in mind somewhat of Tropical Fuck Storm, if that’s not a lazy ‘lairy Aussies’ comparison. Bit less chaotic maybe, as TFS tend more towards the ‘wheels coming off’ end of the spectrum.
Listening back to their earlier material Zeahorse have upped the distortion and snarl, where they used to lean more towards low-desert punkery and cleaner tones. It’s a thoroughly fun ride, so give it a whirl, because if you don’t you’ll wish you did.
Scribed by: Harry Holmes