A couple of years back Canberra band Super Best Friends had a semi-viral hit with a song that featured the inner workings of Australia’s parliament house and some of Australia’s prominent politicians lip syncing lyrics.
Despite genuinely good moments, seeing politicians doing to-camera japery is a cringe fest at the best of times. Possibly that was the intent, to get politicians to think they are down with the youth but they eventually exposed for the dorks they really are.
Hard to say. I guess I’m no judge of dorkery when I just used the phrase “to-camera japery”.
Anyway, check out the video and I’ll get to my point below.
That was back in 2013 and it’s fair to say most of the virality has diminished by now.
Last year the same band put out an album called “Status Updates” and I’m happy to say continuation of gimmicks in the OK Go-style “lets do something zanier with each video does anyone even know our music?” aren’t present and what they released is a genuinely great Australian pub rock and punk album with sparks of cleverness, politics and legitimately great sing along tunes.
Opening with a song about conscription (titled “Conscript”) Australian history and politics are front and centre of this sludgy, base driven rock jam. While the politics are probably nothing we haven’t heard before it doesn’t diminish the fact that conversations about war, patriotism and national pride still need to happen and are just as relevant as they ever were (and almost a year after release, still relevant… but if you’re coming to me for new releases then you need to re-assess your decisions).
Setting the tone for the rest of the album both sonically and lyrically, they don’t shy away from hammering home their political stance, with the second song, Dog Whistling:
You gotta wonder what they think of us,
Across the oceans when they see the fuss,
From a boat of desperate people,
Public outrage puts them in a cage.
I know a place where people came on boats,
Unauthorised and largely unopposed,
They took it all from the people here first,
But now they fail to see the irony.
Still they changed the national anthem to just whistling,
Dog whistling, dog whistling, dog whistling.
You gotta wonder what they think of us,
Three to a square kilometre,
Our boundless plains everywhere,
But not enough for us to share.
I know a place where people had a vote,
It changed policy made by xenophobes,
And the place thrived with the cultures coming in,
But now they say were full,
They’re full of it.
And now they want a national anthem that’s just whistling,
We are not full, we are not full, we are not full, we are not full,
We are not full, we are not full, we are not full, we are not full.
As the album charges along, Billionaire’s Club stands up as a kind of sarcastic sing-along right off the Dead Kennedys – Bedtime For Democracy, while The Man Song takes a magnifying glass to Australian male culture with fantastic lyrics and spectacular moments of musical joy.
So there it is, there’s the blue print, the archetypal Aussie man,
But what about, what about my gay mates or non-footy fans,
Indigenous fathers, sons of migrants, yeah what about them?
Where’s the artists, intellectuals and writers,
Are they all fictitious characters?
You’re a male so just be white and dumb,
In Australia the best you can aspire to,
Is crackin-a-couple-a-cold-ones, crackin-a-couple-a-cold-ones.
The entire album is one of political familiarity, and musical hooks that are well trodden however it’s executed perfectly and sounds like something you’ve heard a million times that you are stoked to hear again and again. The kind of album that will slide right into an Australian punk/pub rock collection and you’ll just assume you’ve owned it for years. It’s an old friend with a few beers who wants to get smashed and listen to some tunes.
What a champ.
They also put out a song last month. Check it out on their Bandcamp, where you can also find this album.