Album Review: Jump on board to ‘Destination Rock and Roll Station’ with The Sticker Club – a rollicking ride for all ages.

The Breakdown

Released through Dalton's mythic Half a Cow Records and the people's ABC Kids , this is a delightful ray of sunshine for anyone who likes indie music and a little childish humour.
Half a Cow Records/ABC Kids 8.2

The Sticker Club ostensibly play music for the little ones (in age, not stature) but offer up delights for the more mature listener through their effervescent double layered indie pop bubble gum music. With someone like the legendary Nic Dalton at the helm, you could not expect anything less – a guarantee of of indie pop magic with that added frisson of gentle tongue in cheek lyrics that would lift even the most melatonin deprived goth’s spirits.

Dalton has a fine history. Bass player with the legendary The Hummingbirds and for a while The Lemonheads (co-writing one of their hits with Evan Dando, ‘Dawn Can’t Decide‘), currently fronting Nic Dalton and his Gloomchasers and running the coolest venue in Sydney – The Petersham Bowling Club. Put quite simply, Dalton is a seminal and central character in the history of Australian indie music.

His foray into what could only be described as children’s music is rather amusing until you realise he brings all his indie pop talents to the sonic table and in the process creates something that is, quite frankly, for everyone.

The song titles give away the general intended audience – with songs such ‘(Do The ) Smashed Banana’, ‘Choc Chip Choo Choo Chain’ and ‘Chocolate Monster Dilemma’ indicating we are not being faced with some deep philosophical treatise on the vicissitudes of modern life or Marxist dialectics. And yet in songs like ‘Dragon’ – ostensibly about the scaled monster – there are cheeky references to the New Zealand singer from the band Dragon and their hit ‘April Sun In Cuba’. The band does one cover – a version of the Lemonheads “Being Around”, which was written by Evan Dando and Australian Tom Morgan. Evan is quoted as saying it is a children’s song sort of about ambiguity and Dalton – who played bass on the original track – had always wanted to record the song with The Sticker Club.

A country lilt embellishes the edges of some of the songs – see the tasty ‘Choc Chip Choo Choo Train’, a delight and a joy for anyone remotely interested in trains and dessert. And who isn’t? Dalton says of the track:

When I was a young kid growing up in Canberra, I used to love the imagery of Living In A Child’s Dream’ by the Masters Apprentices where they sang about chocolate tree trunks and cherries dotted on the slopes of a mountain that is made out of ice cream. I wanted to recreate this scene to – hopefully – give today’s kids a similar magical place.

‘Earth to Nigel’ is a pop delight with its distant observant vocals and jingle jangle sounds that would fit on any serious antipodean indie release.

Single ‘Soup and Buttery Bread is another case in point showcasing the double layers operating in this release – dry lyrics soaked in a wry sense of humour delivered with horns and a bouncy high stepping trot:

With female vocals throughout, the songs on the album have about them an indie sensibility coated in a bubble gum pop delivery – think of local bands like The Beths, The Clouds or Falling Joys with a sixties inflected doo wop bounce.

While no deep meanings or reveletory expositions are involved, the lyrics are witty and the music cool enough to satisfy the most jaded adult.

Mention must also be made of the highly unique Dalton-created graphics.

Released through Dalton’s mythic Half a Cow Records and the people’s ABC Kids , this is a delightful ray of sunshine for anyone who likes indie music and a little childish humour.

‘Destination Rock And Roll’ is a worthy journey that rains down sunshine and joy – you can download and stream it here.

The band are lead singer Nellie Afford with Nic Dalton on guitar and bass, Ben Whitten on guitar, Damien Cassidy on Farfisa and bass, Alison Galloway on the drums and teenager Ruby Firmstone, who plays guitar and trombone.

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