We’ve already met and fell in love with Sydney band The Electorate after the release of their single ‘Decades in a Day‘. If life is a series of unrelenting miseries leavened by brief moments of sunshine, then The Electorate manage to capture the former and express them perfectly into the latter through their songs. ‘You Don’t Have Time to Stay Lost’, their debut album that’s been in gestation for decades, perfectly captures the ennuis of modern middle-aged life and wraps it into beautiful melodies, wistful observations of the inanities of life and yet manages to express the inherent beauty of existence at the same time.
There is and intricate, and delicate timbre to the tracks that manage to capture the deeply ingrained genes of classic Australian indie poetic rock epitomised by The Go-Betweens and The Apartments while reflecting an indelible link to the layered harmonies and pop perfection of The Beatles, and The Kinks flowing through to XTC and Crowded House in tracks like ‘The Wrong Way Round’.
This is an album of two halves: the first side seems more restrained and reflective, the second presses on the accelerator somewhat.
Opening track, ‘Number One’, is a delicate and subtlety flowing track resting on a melodic bass and quiet reflections on ageing – I’m just an old man sitting in my car driving around with my hat on – with gorgeous harmonies.
And when the band jangles, it sparkles. ‘Enormous Glorious Girl’ is a scaling, anthemic pop song that jangles and sparkles delivered with humour and an element of joy. The element of humour continues in ‘Peanut Butter Jars’ with its jaunty tales of every day chores and yearning – if I had the first idea of what to do then I’d have done it by now.
Single ‘Decades in a Day is an achingly aware snapshot of the realties of life:
The Electorate can ramp it up too, as they do in the second half. Tracks like ‘Hercules’, ‘A Good Man’ and ‘Lost At Sea’ are raw visceral blasts of post punk anger with slashing guitars and a pounding, insistent rhythm section.
‘A Good Man’ tackles the delicate subject of domestic violence and the patriarchal approach by society to reporting on the perpetrators not the victims – What kind of guy kills his kids for revenge, then gets labelled a good man? – painfully based on true life episode:
The album ends with the eight minute opus ‘Mayday’, an elegant and cinematic closure deeply infused with melancholia and a sense of loss with a cry for help.
‘You Don’t Have Time to Stay Lost’ is a gorgeous and rich experience: it captures the complex world in which we live in eleven perfect pop songs laced with humility, veracity and just a touch of hope and humour.
The Electorate is Nick Kennedy, Eliot Fish and Josh Morris. Individually, the band has quite a pedigree and yet little history. They played together in their twenties without recording, and individual members have played with the legendary Peter Milton Walsh of the Apartments, and recorded recently with The Apartments as well as playing with a range of Australian bands including Big Heavy Stuff, Knievel and Imperial Broads.
You can get the album below: