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Remember Terry Brendan Telford , September 18th, 2017 14:10

Celebrating Terry, a band from the Australian underground that is sardonic, shambolic and unadorned.

A lot of the best Australian underground music of the last decade has been pretty incestuous. It could be just a surfeit of ideas and energy, looking for outlets. It could be a wider sense of restlessness in that society, or the geographical isolation that means gene pools flow into each other. It could be a feeling that - like a shark - if you stop, you die.

In Terry’s case, it is also about four affable and talented musicians who happen to be coupled up. The four in question are Amy Hill (of Constant Mongrel, School Of Radiant Living), Al Montfort (UV Race, Dick Diver, Total Control), Zephyr Pavey (Eastlink, Russell St Bombings, Total Control) and Xanthe White (Primo). Their offerings, in small releases and last year’s debut LP Terry HQ, showcase a band that is sardonic, shambolic and unadorned.

Remember Terry continues in this vein, eschewing obvious earworms while still making catchy songs. The frayed stomp of ‘Give Up The Crown’ is ragged and barely there, snarling and gleeful as they strum their patchwork instruments and rattle the cage of white privilege before fading out in faux angelic light and 8-bit white noise. ‘Gun’ is moseying punk at playtime, while ‘Start The Tape’ is a sub-two minute gnarled lo-fi punk screed against police intimidation, the quartet chanting “the boys in blue are no nonsense/But no nonsense just won’t hold up” as lumbering drums and Twilight Zone-theme keys drive you to the brink of sanity.

The cankerous purge of such acidic elegies is beautifully countered by the languid sway of album standout ‘Take Me To The City’, a sweet slice of chugging country glam with drawled guitar, handclaps, warbling synths and warm-the-cockles vocals about the banal observations of the hometown and the breathy daydreams of getting to the Big Smoke where things will be different (NB: they won’t).

Then there is ‘Glory’, a buzzing amble that could be the Gilmour boys with cowboy hats jammed on, half-empty beer bottles precarious in their tilted palms as they lie in the backyard, all shrugs and lopsided smiles.

Another corker is ‘Heavin’ Heavies’, the echo-chamber twang and back-porch harmonies underscored by a playful surge of alliterative word interplay, all fuelled by dripping derision of colonialism and our failing global standards. Closer ‘Homage’ is almost ethereal in its languorous lurk, its lightness shadowed by the foreign policy subject matter that belies the squelched synth line.

Remember Terry is deliriously memorable. Most albums of this ilk from the Australian underground will have a couple of standout tracks; this album is full of them.