- by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2016-11-18 Label: Deaf Ambitions
Melbourne’s Redspencer (featuring brothers Dave and Aiden McMillian) deliver a brand of timelessly tuneful guitar-pop that feels like a proverbial breath of fresh air in the midst of today’s ever-crowded Indie-Rock waters. The group's soon to be released debut Perks (via Deaf Ambitions) is a blissful exercise in the art of understated purpose, featuring a collection of cleverly constructed songs and impressively poignant lyrics that instantly recalls the best moments from modern bands like Pavement and Real Estate while simultaneously tipping their hat to the jangly surf-pop of yesteryear.
While the band’s Bandcamp page describes their sound as “quasi-nihilistic guitar pop”, the truth of the matter is Redspencer is far more nuanced than their description would have you believe. Perks is chock full of moments that pleasantly surprise, from the staccato jangle of the album opener “Gtalk”, to the shower-stall echo of “Spare Me”, the record impressively marries timeless 60’s pop elements with a post-punk sensibility.
The record's first single “Rainbows” serves as an apt reference point for the band, as the song’s dreamy melody unravels across a hypnotic progression of jazz chords while songs like the quasi-rave-up “Hard Work” and the pensive album closer “Convenience” display the band’s range, seamlessly toying with tempo and vibe throughout.
The album delivers lyrically as well, with musings ranging from ponderous (like the title track’s ‘What a lovely day for you to come and stay here in bigot paradise, If you’ve only seen it in the magazines you haven’t lived a full life’) to feisty (like this “Some People” gem ‘Some people just don’t give a fuck , Whatever concerns me and mine , Long as I got a drink in hand , Easy to keep an absent mind’) anchoring these melodic songs with a healthy dose of youthful sincerity.
Far exceeding the expectations that one tends to set in regards to a debut album, song after song from Perks yields fully realized results that continue to reward repeated listens. For a relatively new band (they formed in 2013, and released an E.P. shortly thereafter), the one consistent thought that I keep coming back to while listening to this record is the hope that Redspencer's Perks is simply a taste of more to come.