We are over the moon to be able to provide a sneak listen to the new EP ‘Quiet Bat People’ from the rather brilliant The Great Emu War Casualties.
This is a very exciting band that innovates incessantly and creates a rare dynamism. Threaded throughout the pacey high stepping beats is a vein of self-deprecating wry humour – evident in the song-titles alone. The instrumentation is restless and sky high, angular and bold, while the vocals shimmering and layered.
Of the EP, the band says:
‘Quiet Bat People’ was recorded across time and space, partially in a shack in the woods in between lockdowns before it burned down, partially in our apartment before we were evicted during the great “return to normal”, and partially in a fancy studio in Melbourne called ‘Sing Sing’ which we could never afford by ourselves (thanks Fender). It’s a fractured record for a fractured time but we think it’s kind of a nice representation of the band.
Opening track ‘Modern Indie Spacecats’ blasts off with a hyperkinetic blast and the band’s trademark angular, jittery sound that has an element of early The Models interacting with Talking Heads. Guitars cut and slash over the pounding drums and electronic blips, creating a wave of excess and noise; it’s pulse quickening stuff.
‘Go Away (Or Be My Friend)’ skips over a liquid wandering punch bass while arpeggiated, delayed guitars sketch celestial patterns in the sky. There’s something animalist and raw in this track – infused with a funky thrum and a spacy psychedelic blur.
‘Bacon Rampage!’ slips gently down a gear with its reflective air and coasting dream pop melodies that bring to mind a long drive in an open topped car. Vocal harmonies are layered and velvet soft.
Frontman Joe Jackson talks about the meaning behind ‘Bacon Rampage!’:
Have you ever seen one of those older style Broadsheet newspaper comics that depict bankers and corporate executives as big fat pigs in top hats with monocles and double-breasted suit jackets (but never any pants) standing on top of mountains of money? This is sort of the audio equivalent of that.
It’s about being on the bottom and drinking the Kool-Aid of advice that serves to further benefit those at the top, and also about how I don’t actually have any new takes on what to do about that, but just because I can’t solve it doesn’t mean that anything is gained by ignoring the problem.
There is a thread of melancholy and atmosphere – it’s a gorgeous, epic cinematic track.
The thoughtful reflective air continues in ‘Tractor Widow’ with its story-telling narrative flow, albeit contrasted with wild guitars that muss up the manicured hair of the song. It segues effortlessly into the funky drip beat of ‘Dreams (Of A Three Way)’: a sinuous slipstream of a track, haf spoken but with an indelible melody in the chorus and the repeated refrain I saw heaven.
‘Proto-fascist Aristocratic’ is an excoriating look at society, layered vocals skipping over clattering, chiming guitars and wry lyrics on the human condition:
We passed the the time for making plans, get left behind by anything demanding
Final track ‘(Closed Until Further Notice)’ gently assumes the very Talking Heads ‘Remain In Light Era’ level of funk: a jittery, hyperactive flow that glitters and sparkles over a percussive spine and ambulant bass.
‘Quiet Bat People’ is a glorious and diverse collection of stars in the firmament: emitting glitter and light while being made of something quite substantial and profound. In this EP, The Great Emu War Casualties have succeeded in creating out of the dour times in which we live, something that pushes against the darkness and shines with a musical radiance and lyrical intelligence.
‘Quiet Bat People’ is out everywhere tomorrow.
You can catch the band live:
Sat 12 Nov | The Leadbeater Hotel, Naarm/Melbourne Vic
Sat 24 Nov| Stay Gold, Naarm/Melbourne Vic