April music review

Gum’s monthly music round-up for April 2019.

Illustrations by Tahlia Kristjansson


 
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PINK MATTER

Wonder (Single)

Break out the good headphones or quality speakers for this song, because this local four-piece have engineered something that melts like fuzzy butter in your ears. The synths act like a woozy, oscillating adhesive that hold the minimalist drums and spacious bassline together. It all couples nicely with whispery vocals that swirl and reverberate in space-time, flowing out over the sides of this track for eternity. It’s soft and immense all at the same time, and it’s impossible not to sway and lean to the rhythm. Pink Matter’s neo-soul is unique and inventive, and they have shown in Wonder that the possibilities are endless like a kaleidoscope.

For fans of: Hiatus Kaiyote, Amy Winehouse

Pairs with: A late-night, espresso martini-fueled boogie.

Listen to Wonder on Spotify here.


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PASSION CACTUS

We Artless Young Animals (EP)

Straight out of the suburban garage-turned-studio of your dreams come rockers Passion Cactus. This straight up and down, no bullshit/strings attached debut EP hits hard and heavy with guitar hook-based, heaving songs that make you want to move your body as if your life depends on it. Santana tears you a new one straight out of the box with its healthy nod to the Latin-rock shredder. Sky Song and Wake Up With You appeal to the group’s prog-rock sensibilities, with airy, well-modulated songs that swell into big, triumphant belters. Noodle-y riffs and high tempos in Goddamn and My Time is Coming hark back to a time in rock when it actually did rock, eventually rolling into the live-jam track If God is Willing, which is so tight you won’t believe it’s a live recording.

For fans of: Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins

Pairs With: A beer in one hand, a pumping fist in the other.

Listen to We Artless Young Animals on Spotify here.


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NICOLE MCKINNEY

Honey Be Good (Single)

The Sunshine Coast has always been generous with the amount of artists it gives us, and this 21-year-old singer/songwriter is no exception. Honey Be Good is Nicole’s debut single and it’s addictive—you may still be humming the cute chorus to yourself by the time she releases her next catchy tune. With simple, tasteful instrumentals, a strong chord progression, and uplifting lyrics from a handsome, earnest voice, this song will bring out the optimist in anyone.

For fans of: Missy Higgins, Joni Mitchell

Pairs with: Beautiful clear days, sun rays warming your feet after a swim in a waterfall.

Listen to Honey Be Good on Spotify here.


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GOLDEN VESSEL

HIGHWAY (Single)

Local producer Max Byrne has returned triumphantly from his US tour with HIGHWAY, a real crooner that surprises you as Byrne’s deep beats bubble to the surface, releasing more and more energy into the track. His dark, gravelly vocals and Emerson Leif’s beautiful falsetto meet somewhere in the middle to create a perfect equilibrium in the melody. It takes a while to get up to speed, but just like the best road trips down the highway, it’s more about the journey than the destination.

For fans of: Frank Ocean, Taylor Mcferrin

Pairs with: Late nights, warm lighting.

Listen to HIGHWAY on Spotify here.


 
 
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BLUR

Parklife (April, 1994)

The year 1994 was the start of Britpop, and Parklife was the album that defined it. Featuring emphasised English accents, catchy guitar hooks and story-songs focusing on monotonous daily life in London, Parklife draws  from the 1960s British invasion with the same inventiveness The Beatles utilised in Magical Mystery Tour. This album is firmly fixed in the 90s - take the opener Girls and Boys. It slides in with a bass and drum combination borrowed from the previous decade and comments on the promiscuity of Brits on summer holiday with one of the most enjoyable and memorable choruses of all time. End of a Century comes in like a dreamy, modern version of Strawberry Fields Forever and contrasts fantastical sonic musings with lyrics about mundanity and watching TV. This Is a Low soars close to the end of the album, with the rhythmic acoustic strumming and slow-mo guitar solo making this track arguably one of the best ballads of the 1990s. And of course, there’s the cockney-tinged narrative song that gave you something to say any time some geezer’s pseudo-intellectual comment has popped up on your Facebook- Parklife!

For fans of: Oasis (but don’t say that to their face)

Pairs with: Feeding the pigeons, and sometimes feeding the sparrows.

Listen to Parklife on Spotify here.

Tom Jordan