The wonderful The Belair Lip Bombs today unveil their debut album ‘Lush Life’ and exclusively take Backseat Mafia on a detailed track by track analysis of the album.
The Belair Lip Bombs are purveyors of the most magnificent brand of blistering indie pop and ‘Lush Life’ captures their energy and songwriting, with a delicious air of yearning threaded throughout.
The album has taken a long time to gestate – three years of the band’s life and many years before that poured into every note, and the result is magnificent.
From the jingle jangle clattering bounce of ‘Say My Name’ with its sense of urgency, to the punky angular scything of ‘Gimme Gimme’ and the soaring fragility of ‘Stay or Go’, The Belair Lip Bombs deliver a new wave post punk bop replete with mountain-scaling choruses and indelible melodies. Their sound is quite unique – an amalgam of Devo, The Strokes and Talking Heads provides a mere approximation of the sound.
A buzz saw edge to the vocals and rhythms create a little roughage to the sparkle – the band is adept at creating layers and surprises to the songs. ‘World Is The One’ and ‘Easy On The Heart’ provides proof of this versatility – songs that are a little more restrained and melancholic, with a heart achingly beautiful delivery.
At times, there is a The Strokes-like veracity to the instrumentation – the driving ‘Look The Part’ and ‘Suck It In’ for example – that is given a layered complexity and subtlety by Maisie Everett’s vocals – sometime vulnerable, sometimes urgent. The latter song is burnished by a gorgeous trumpet filigree.
Everett (guitars, keys and vocals) says of the album:
The album is titled ‘Lush Life’ – these words are referenced a few times throughout the album. Themes or motifs explored in the album often involve a longing for something that isn’t there, but maybe not quite knowing exactly what that something is. The term ‘Lush Life’ sort of describes a picture perfect world where everything is easy (but doesn’t actually exist).
Other themes (though all still connected) include longing for connection and intimacy – several songs express a desire for emotional connection and intimacy with someone else, like in ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Gimme Gimme’; also, the desire to escape routine and mundanity. The album has some themes of breaking free from routine and seeking something more fulfilling. In “World Is The One,” the lyrics express a desire to escape the monotony and reject a conventional lifestyle. “Stay Or Go” reflects the struggle of feeling trapped and questioning whether to stay or seek something new.
‘Lush Life’ is a personal journey filled with poetic lyricism and romanticism – the title is evoked in ‘Say My Name’:
I wanna live in the lush life way
I wanna live it with you
I wanna hear you say my name again
I’ve got a question for you to answer
I’ve got a question for you
I wanna hear you say my name again
Cause I gotta hear you
say my name again
This motif resurfaces at the end of the album in ‘Suck It In’, creating a nice resolution:
Somewhere between the routine
I didn’t hate it then
Take me and throw away the key
I feel like a child again
I guess I’ll sing along to it
Or put it in a bin
Sometimes you gotta take the hit
Push it out or suck it in
Take me to the lush life
Take me to the lush life
Take me to the lush life
Everett takes us through each song, track by track:
Say My Name
I think sometime in between lockdowns in 2021, Mike (guitarist) and I were jamming a bit together in Frankston just trying to write some new stuff. Mike was drumming and we were just messing around when I came up with that riff. The melody came along really really easily I think. Must have been a few weeks later we jammed it with the whole band. The song just wrote itself really, we had this really amazing guitar riff which I think is the foundation of the song so the rest was just so easy. I remember thinking ‘this is the best song I’ve ever written in my life’ hahaha. I still don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top it. The line ‘I wanna hear you say my name again’ clicked right from the start. So we built the rest of the song around that line. ‘I wanna live in the lush life way’ was also one of the first lyrics I wrote for it, and I guess that’s what sparked the idea for the album title.
Oldest song on the album. I think we wrote it in 2020. It took us years to figure out the structure and vocal melody for this song though which is why we never recorded it earlier. I wrote the lyrics for the verses the night before recording vocals for the album. I guess I just copied Mike’s guitar line for the vocal melody, it worked out pretty good I think. I’ve said before it’s a bit of a tongue in cheek song. Kitschy 80s vibe or something. Makes me feel like a bit of a rockstar when we play it.
World Is The One
Banged this song out in a day to be honest. We wrote it when we were actively trying to write songs for this album and doing full day writing sessions in Frankston. I don’t have much to say about it really! It’s short and sweet.
Stay Or Go
I think I wrote the bass line for this in my head while I was in the shower or something. Went straight to prac and told Jimmy to start playing it and we just jammed it. I love what Mike did on the guitar in this song, I think it really set the tone for it. Lyrically, this song is what made me really think about how we could create an overall theme or message for the album. It’s about feeling stuck and not really knowing what to do. I often wonder if there is something amazing out there that I’m missing out on, like if you can get to a place where you’re settled in a constant state of happiness or contentment. I’m learning as I get older that that doesn’t really exist though, life is a journey or something…
Easy On The Heart
Started off as a really bad pop song demo I made in Logic. I bought a keyboard in lockdown though and wanted to start writing some lip bombs stuff with keys. I got piano lessons when I was like 8, I’m not that great but I’ve still got the reflexes for it which is really handy. So I took that demo to band practice and it translated pretty well. Actually, it turned out 100x better – I stumbled across the old demo a couple of months after we recorded it and laughed at how silly it sounded.
We’d never done anything like this song before, obviously having the piano as the main instrument. I went crazy on the harmonies for this song, it was so much fun to record. I remember being in the studio when we recorded it and saying to Nao, ‘I want it to sound like a Fleetwood Mac song’ he looked at me with a blank stare. It doesn’t sound anything like Fleetwood Mac, I thought it would but I thought wrong. I still love it though.
This song is a bit of a confession of how I used to make up events or emotions in our earlier songs. I was only a teenager and didn’t really have anything to write about so I’d just make up meaningless love songs. I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t write about real events so this song is a bit of a jab at that. I’ve learned now that it really doesn’t matter if you don’t write about things exactly how they happened to you. Even though this album is the first time where I felt like I’ve written about things that are true to me, there will always be people out there who will connect with the song even if you don’t. And to be honest, that’s what I care about the most.
We’re still working on how we can translate it to a live setting. It’s a hard one to sing, let alone all the extra harmonies. The guys have been doing backing vocals live for the past year though and we’re starting to sound pretty good.
Look The Part
I remember coming up with the main riff (those repeating 3 notes) for this and we started jamming it at practice one night. The guys really locked in playing that riff over and over and I realized I didn’t really have much else to add so I just put down the guitar and started singing. First song where I’m not playing an instrument which was daunting at first…I remember that same night Jimmy being like ‘OI – WAIT WAIT STOP GUYS LISTEN TO THIS’ and he just randomly broke out that bass breakdown solo thing hahaha. We all lost our minds. It’s the best part of the song to be honest. It’s a really good one for a live setting too. The guys get really in the pocket. I still don’t really know what to do with my hands when we play this song. I’m really good at dancing to it in the privacy of my own bedroom but still not quite confident enough to fully unleash on stage yet. I’ll get there…
I think we wrote this around the same time as World Is The One. Not long before recording the album. The song came together really quickly I recall. Just started with a guitar riff like usual. I was quite angry about something at the time of writing the lyrics for this. It’s about being pissed off. I hated my job at the time too and felt like it was getting in the way of everything. This song has some of my favorite lyrics I think…‘it’s a sign of the times and the times are shit’. I really ate that up to be honest…‘I gotta be less harsh if there’s something to say’ yeah this line is pretty self explanatory. I think every woman to ever exist can probably relate to this.
Things That You Did
Mike wrote this bass line and guitar and sent a demo in the group chat one day with zero context. I was like um Mike? Dope. We fleshed out the rest of the song in band prac. It’s an interesting one – I think it’s the least sounding lip bombs lip bombs song, maybe because Mike wrote it, but it’s sick I think and still very much lip bombs. I wanted to do some kind of beach boys style vocals over the top. But I think because it’s a post punk song it was never gonna sound like the beach boys hahaha. But it works, nonetheless. We got our friend Sarah, who plays in Floodlights to come in and record trumpet over the bridge on this song. We didn’t really have any idea of how it would sound but she winged it and it sounds awesome. Jimmy does a bit of math rock/midwestern emo style bass line in the bridge and it sounds sick. The lyrics are pretty self explanatory for this song too. It’s probably the darkest song, thematically, but has a real dancey tempo to it at the same time which is cool
Wrote the guitar riff at home one day on an acoustic guitar. Think it might have been during one of the last lockdowns. The guys were unsure about this song when I first showed them. I was too. I thought maybe it was a bit boring or something. But I think it really grew on everyone. It’s a grower. I think you have to listen to it a few times to get hooked on it. Half of the song is just the first verse. I think the lyrics shine on this song. I’m really proud of them for this one, I had a lot of fun writing them.
Suck It In
To be honest this is my favorite song on the album. It’s also a pretty old song. We actually recorded a version of it back in 2021. I don’t know why we didn’t release it at the time but I’m glad we didn’t. I remember vividly, one day right as I got back home from a road trip I’d done to Darwin and back, I had this riff stuck in my head and recorded it on voice memos. It was the chorus melody with the weird little timing changes at the end of each phrase. Took it to band practice shortly after and we fleshed it out. Everyone loves this song. It was really fun working out all the trippy time changes at band practice. It’s my favorite song, I love playing it live and it’s the perfect finisher to the album. I like how it leaves the album on a bit of a cliffhanger with the abrupt ending. I think that was a happy accident, when we were jamming it and feeling it out we all gave each other the eyes and just stopped playing. I think it was Liam that was like, let’s actually end it like that. I sing the words ‘take me to the lush life’ if you listen closely in the outro. It’s like a little Easter egg. The first and last lyrics on the album are the words ‘lush life’
‘Lush Life is out today (Friday, 25 August 2023) and available to stream and download here and through the link below:
The Belair Lip Bombs are: Maisie Everett (guitar, key, vocals), Mike Bradvica (guitars), Liam De Bruin (drums) and Jimmy Droughton (bass).
You can catch the band on tour launching the album – details below.
Fri 8th Sep – Waywards, Sydney
Sat 9th Sep – Nervewreck Fest, Canberra
Sat 30th Sep – Jive, Adelaide
Fri 6th Oct – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane
Sat 7th Oct – Vinnie’s Dive Bar, Gold Coast
Fri 13th Oct – Tba, Wollongong
Fri 20th Oct – Brunswick Ballroom, Melbourne
Feature Photograph: @OliverSeille