Melbourne-based band Hot Coppers has just released their new self-titled album and it is a whimsical joy. Tripping along with a pastoral pop bounce and burnished with intelligent, wry lyrics, this has all the hallmarks of something from some bucolic English village with a touch of The Kinks or Jona Lewie and a dash of sparkling eccentricity and gentle self-deprecating humour.
The delivery also dials in the gentleness and pop sensibilities of the Dunedin/Flying Nun sound as exemplified by The Chills. Each song floats with an ambulant liquidity on a bed of strumming guitars and subtle synths.
Hot Coppers is the solo studio project of music producer Gareth Parton (Foals, The Go! Team, The Breeders) with a live band that features luminaries from The Lucksmiths, Mid-State Orange, Monnone Alone, The Zebras, Amarillo and Clan Analogue. Parton has been on a twenty year hiatus and sprang back into recording during the COVID lockdowns. And the result is an absolute joy.
Opening track ‘Dirty Water’ sets the scene – a Kinks type pop delivery with dappling instrumentation, wry vocals and witty, whimsical lyrics. ‘Bedfellow’ has an up tempo waltz and glorious harmonies while ‘Molecule froths and bubble with a high stepping lilt. In contrast, ‘Clown In My Pocket’ is filled with a sort of aching pathos and a soft delivery and ‘So and So’ built on achingly funny lyrics.
‘Sunflower Seeds’, an earlier single, is subtle and filled with indelible melodies and glorious harmonies. Parton says that track:
…attempts to capture the excitement and unknown of a new relationship – will it grow into something special… or die cos you’re shit at ‘gardening’?
‘Running Mate’ has a gentle and eloquent frailty – a pastoral, bucolic sound fringed by piano with gentle, wry wordplay weaving through the vocals. The chorus is as expansive as the southern skies with an euphoric, pulse-quickening glow. Parton says of the track:
…around the time I was writing this one, I did one of those pseudo-scientific personality tests and it said I was a “Campaigner” – no idea what that means but it got me on the campaign trail.
This album is a melodic masterpiece – a blend of pastoral eccentricity with the village green archness of XTC and the pop mastery of Britpop era indie rock, all wrapped up in a dream pop cloak threaded with a warm, melancholic intelligence.
Hot Coppers will be launching the album on Saturday, July 22 2023 at the Fitzroy Pinnacle in Melbourne – details and tickets available here.
The album was recorded entirely by ex-pat Welshman Parton at his Melbourne studio Los Bomberos, having rediscovered his flair for songwriting during the pandemic, following a brief twenty-odd-year hiatus.
It’s worth catching up with Parton’s podcast SixPack too – details here – where his musical connections lead to some very impressive guests.