‘LOOSE MANIFESTO’ REVIEWS
Sydney Morning Herald & The Age 4/5
In Britain, there’s a strain of music associated with the north of England: intense rock redolent of low cloud and permanent rain, guitar and firm drums to the fore, usually sung by tightly coiled men with fiery eyes. Think of a line from Joy Division to Editors, from Echo and the Bunnymen to British Sea Power.
There isn’t really a geographical equivalent here but maybe we could think of our strain as being more band-specific: Bluebottle Kiss et al. That Sydney band of impressive, sustained form have long supported fellow harboursiders Peabody and they weren’t wrong.
Loose Manifesto is Peabody’s fourth and best album. It is a constantly evolving – and surprising – parade of emotionally and musically powerful rock, with touches of the grim north and the bleak south (as in New Zealand’s South Island bands such as the Verlaines), with intensity and melody entwined like doomed lovers. Peabody can handle the almost-dreamy psychedelia of It Can’t Be Done and the near-pop sound of No New Riffs as comfortably as the frenetic barge of the title track or the brisk power run of Black Narcissus but their preferred territory is that just-held-back tempo under threatening skies that you hear inMirror Mirror and This Empty Road.
If there is any justice, you should see this album on the Australian Music Prize shortlist in a few weeks. – Bernard Zuel, January 2011
The Wax Conspiracy Website
Before Prospero was released in 2008 it was difficult to see in what direction the band would be heading. After all, their drummer, Graeme, had left the fold and had been replaced by the redoubtable Jared Harrison, and there was also a new guitarist, Tristan Courtney-Prior, in tow. These changes prompted the question of what the band would now sound like: Jared and Graeme are very different types of drummers and a four-piece – at least a good one – shouldn’t sound like a three-piece.
Prospero was, happily, a success and it took the band to a different place. I mean that metaphorically. This time around the question marks (also metaphorical) hanging over the band’s next record had largely given way to anticipation, which was keenly felt on my part at least, as I had not heard any of the new songs or even the seeds of the new songs until I got my hands on a copy of the record.
Any discussion of the new record has to involve its title, which has been floating around since at least the end of April. This is because Loose Maniesto is the least coherent record that Peabody have released, though you can, if you try, find in its bones the bittersweet sigh that was Prospero.
“This Empty Road” kicks the album off. It is an existential meanderer that augments its lyrical disquiet with a touch of viola and that sound-effect that sounds like a piano crashing off in the distance. As an opening salvo it is brave as it is the first time a Peabody record hasn’t opened with a crash or a bang. It is also, it should be said, the perfect way to introduce Loose Maniesto as it serves to skewer expectations utterly. After that first song, one realises that this album is going to be anything but straightforward.
“Black Narcissus” follows next and when that spaghetti western riff gives way to galloping guitars and drums you can tell why this three-minute burner was chosen as the first single – it is Loose Maniesto’s “Got You on My Radar” or “The Devil for Sympathy.” Having said that, there is still something a little subversive about “Black Narcissus,” and you can’t imagine that it would ever fit in with the band’s other singles.
From this point forward it becomes futile to presage the record. The next two songs are, for example, another blow to expectations. “Dead Head” is a dirge, simply put; one made dirgier-still by the heaviness in the vocals (achieved by Bruno and Ben singing at the same time) and by the wash of cymbals and guitar noise that see the song out. “No New Riffs,” on the other hand, slated to be the second single, is the complete opposite: a chiming pop song.
And so the loose structure of the record unfolds. There are a few rockers, including the title track, which features Ben bellowing into a megaphone and “Already Won,” which is the closest the band gets to sounding like their The New Violence days; and there are some ballads and poppier numbers, the highlight easily being “Mirror Mirror,” a rolling dream-pop number replete with “LA LA LAs” and an outro guitar/noise solo that strives to undo the pleasant floating feeling that the song set out to achieve.
What makes Loose Manifesto such an accomplishment – and an argument can be made for it being Peabody’s best – is that it was the first one produced by the band. Small touches like Ben and Bruno singing together on “Dead Head” or the very tender way that Bruno’s and Trix’s guitars play off one another towards the end of “Take it From Me,” another of the record’s ballads, highlight the fact that Peabody, very much like the cunt, has come into its own.
This is an exceptional collection of songs structured in such a way as to leave you vaguely reeling. Go with it. – Belvedere Jehosophat, October 2010
Polaroids of Androids Website
I’m writing this as I travel by train from The World’s Most Beautiful Greyscale Town, Edinburgh, down to the cliche cesspool, European tourist dumping ground, salty “bag of crisps” city called London.
This four hour, forty minute rail journey might seem like a foolish method of transport from point A+ to Z, especially considering the fact we live in 2015, amidst The Marvellous Magnet Age — a decade renowned for budget airlines, time travel and pre-blind date abortion pills.
But, in addition to the obvious romanticism associated with tracing the famous Flying Scotsman southern route — the endless patchwork Royal-owned countryside on the right and the calm Nordic passage on the left — there’s a logical argument defending the decision to be made as well.
For one, trains are rarely delayed or cancelled due to oversights at the Yemen Postal Service. It’s also a refreshing change to not have to strip naked, walk backwards through an MRI machine and denounce your Satanic beliefs in order to board.
There’s a clear financial benefit as well and it’s great that you don’t have to mortgage your cat in order to sample some of the world famous British cuisine that is offered. In fact, from the friendly Welsh wench at The Fat Controller Bar in carriage G you can still get change from a fiver for your staple warm pint of lager/salted nut pouch lunch diet.
And don’t get me started on how great it is that you actually travel from city-to-city, rather than the usual city-to-airport-to-airport-to-connecting bus terminal -to-taxi waiting area-to-sweaty waiting room-to-hitch jokers line-to-city that is synonymous with air travel.
Yes, in short — trains are a fucking amazing method of transport. Planes crash into buildings, start wars and eat out your girlfriend while you’re in hospital undergoing an emergency back operation. Trains are honest, reliable and when you need a pat on the back and a familiar full-body oil massage they’re there, with a warm knitted sweater and a family-size tub of KY.
But alas (or maybe more appropriately given my current geographical location “a lass”) the attention deficit, generation-Z cunt across the aisle from me will probably remain unconvinced, sitting there in his comfortable seat, arms folded, sulking because some old lady just accidentally bumped her tartan suitcase into his arm.
He’s the same cunt that you could often find drunk on a Friday at the Hopetoun, dressed in his cheap intern suit, loudly complaining that the band playing don’t have enough synths and/or haven’t washed their black jeans since the Y2K years.
The most refreshing aspect of Loose Manifesto is that, for the first time in their ten plus year career, Peabody seem genuinely disinterested in attempting to win over these kinds of fucktards.
Loose Manifesto sounds relaxed, comfortable — like a pair of unwashed, beer-stained black jeans. It’s one of those records that could have been recorded at any point in the past fifteen years — a tribute to the timeless nature of the band’s consistent hard line of defiance — a style created in sweaty rehearsal spaces, perfected in dark, unkempt pubs and powered by the band’s unique blend of reflection, intolerance and genuine punk attitude.
Loose Manifesto is the kind of record that will be mostly appreciated by those who have been part of the journey, witnessed as Peabody have taken their no bullshit simplicity and slowly worked their way towards perfecting their gritty, reflective tone. Because of this approach it’s really just an album for the already converted. The true fans.
The tongue-in-cheek ballad and the album’s lyrical standout, No New Riffs, highlights the bands awareness of this fact in the most unashamedly transparent manner. But it’s also a theme that consistently pops up throughout the record, whether it be the unhinged drunk rollocking of Black Narcissus, the introspective Finest Death Tune Of 2010, Take It From Me, or the playfully addictive call-and-response punk anthem that closes the album It Don’t Matter.
The only negative outcome of the band’s approach this time around is that they seem to have obsessively focused on symmetry, with an almost formulaic album approach occasionally creeping in — not only counter-balancing the number of ballads with an equal amount of punk vibrancy, but also evenly splitting the subject matter between punishing self-analysis and a more direct judgmental perspective. But after four and a bit hours (no delays, obviously), and as the individual songs begin to permanently fix themselves onto my brain’s loop tape, this initially distracting element becomes irrelevant.
Unplugging my headphones as we pull into the temporarily demolished Kings Cross station I’m overcome with an amazing sense of calmness. Maybe it’s the smooth London smog creeping into my lungs or the ancestral sense of pride associated with the faultless method of transport. Or maybe, Peabody have crafted an album that sounds like they’re finally completely comfortable in their own skin, all the while politely referencing their consistently brilliant decade of output. Buy this album and a one way ticket on the Flying Scotsman and let me know what you think. – Jonny Polaroid, November 2010
Mess & Noise Website
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first. Claiming an album is inspired by Dada is interesting, but it’s also fucking risky. Duchamp and his buddies were having a crack at the way art is made and consumed in modern society. Sure, noble enough, but really, a urinal on its side in an art gallery is what it boils down to and I don’t know if I like the sneaking suspicion that Peabody are trying to piss in my ear by claiming this as inspiration. Loose Manifesto sounds just as it’s named; a haphazard collection, schizophrenic in mood and tone, angry and flailing. But calling something Loose Manifesto doesn’t excuse it from sounding less polished and somehow unfinished.
In fact, it might easily have passed for an album of lost B-sides, which is a quandary. Do you take this record on its own merits, or must we look at it in comparison to Peabody’s back catalogue? It steps away from their energetic, power pop tendencies, jumping instead from shoegaze to drone to glimmers of their early punkier days to thoughtful balladry. Which is why it sounds like stuff they might’ve discarded from previous records because it didn’t “fit”. On its own as a record though, all these things that could grate on long time fans, might be appealing to a different audience.
‘This Empty Road’ is the first shock to the system. It’s frustrated, agonising and stripped, and quite powerful once you realise the lift and crash of a pop song waiting to happen isn’t hiding behind a slow first verse. ‘Black Narcissus’ is an assurance that this is still the same band, though there is more noise and less melody. ‘Deadhead’ starts with the shoe shuffling, calling out to the ghost of ripped jeans and oversized flanno of 1994. ‘No New Riffs’ is classic Peabody; self-deprecating and sarcastic, but in this context, it feels desperate. “No new riffs/There’s nothing amazing/There’s nothing going on,” sings Bruno Brayovic, who later breaks down into ferocious wailing in ‘Choking’. Is this some sort of aurally expressed nervous breakdown?
‘Mirror Mirror’, ‘Take It From Me’ and ‘I’ve Been Waiting’ all swing back down tempo without offering any catharsis. ‘Already Won’ is a bottle of whiskey into this bender, grinding and droning, before the noisy ranting jam that is the title track. With no lyrics in the liner notes, I can’t tell you what Bruno is yelling, except it reminds me of those wild eyed men in trench-coats on the train, shouting to their own private audience. ‘It Can’t Be Done’ and ‘It Don’t Matter’ are the most lo-fi sounding tracks and also the most sarcastic, especially ‘It Don’t Matter’, which should’ve been the title track because it seems to sum up the sentiments of the album better.
Maybe in pieces, or as something different and entirely separate to Peabody’s earlier records, Loose Manifesto will work. The noise and the grind and the shoegaze definitely has its appeal, but it’s not the same kind of appeal we’ve come to expect. – Jodi Biddle, November 2010
The Vine Website
My old band once opened up for Peabody. In fact, it was probably one of the best gigs we ever played (which isn’t saying much for a band called The Wesley Snipers). But we were tight and we rocked out hard. Fuck, I even busted out a guitar solo while sitting in someone’s lap as they sat at the bar (what a wanker – I know). But regardless, we came off stage feeling like our man bits had grown an inch and a half.
That lasted about three chords into Peabody’s set, by which stage, like a napalm raid, they’d already scorched all memories of our performance from the minds of the audience.
But what else would you expect from such a stalwart of the Sydney music scene. It feels like forever that I’ve been hearing random spins of Peabody tunes on the radio or catching one of their phenomenal live sets onstage at the Annandale, the Lansdowne and the Hopetoun (R.I.P.).
And now the Peabods have released Loose Manifesto, their fourth album but first on their own label, as well as the first without the production touches of Bluebottle Kiss frontman Jamie Hutchings. Despite these changes (or perhaps because of) Loose Manifesto is some of the band’s most impressive work to date.
Like the other great (albeit more successful) front men of his generation in The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard and You Am I’s Tim Rogers, Bruno Brayovic has always sung with proud Australian vowels, and in an easily identifiable tone and timbre that has acted as a watermark for his band’s sound from the beginning. It’s these vocals that act as the guidance system on the heat-seeking missile that is Loose Manifesto; one minute he’s cruising and crooning on top of pop tracks that tilt their hat to the bands earlier, Triple J friendly career (see ‘Mirror, Mirror’ or the anthemic ‘No New Riffs’), the next he swerves and explodes into ball tearing rock songs (see ‘Choking’, ‘Already Won’ and the album’s title track).
Throughout this swerving rocket ride, Brayovic is flanked by his equally impressive band members. Guitarist Tristan Courtney-Prior is the old scool “lead guitarist”, putting on a performance unmatched by many local guitar slingers, often tearing into his strings in a way that recalls the best of Sonic Youth’s chaotic style (see ’Dead Head’ and ‘It Don’t Matter’). Meanwhile, the band’s rhythm section of Jared Harrison on drums and Ben Chamie on bass, manage to provide an equally precise and thumping bedrock upon which Courtney-Prior and Brayovic’s duel guitar wringing thrives.
This is not to say the album is flawless. As much as I enjoy Brayovic’s vocals, he isn’t the greatest singer of all time and sometimes his vocals overpower the music in the mix (see ‘I’ve Been Waiting’). Album closer and boogie-woogie punk number ‘It Don’t Matter’, squashes the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and NOFX-style lyrics into an immature mash that doesn’t reflect well on the rest of the record; a bit of a hangnail on the album as a whole.
But Loose Manifesto is as solid as you could possibly expect from a band that has been squeezing out quality tunes and playing like their lives depended on it for well over a decade. And although they will probably never reach the critical and commercial heights of some of their contemporaries, it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop creating excellent material anytime soon. Fuck, they’ll probably outlast the entire Sydney live music scene altogether.
Unlike The Wesley Snipers (R.I.P.). – Natahan Wood, November 2010
Triple J Magazine – 7/10
The Sydney rock quartet’s fourth album starts with a song about the end of the world and doesn’t get any cheerier. When Loose Manifesto isn’t wallowing in a barren drone, it’s dredging up its own disaffected bile with a shambolic, seething punkish intensity. All very cathartic, really. – Josh Jennings, October 2010
Rolling Stone Magazine – 3/5
In the album notes for Loose Manifesto, Peabody joke that not having Jamie Hutchings in the producer’s chair was like dad being away for the weekend. The Bluebottle Kiss frontman helmed the band’s first three albums, so it’s no surprise that the Sydney veterans have tackled their fourth with the reckless abandon of a teenage miscreant trashing the family home. There’s a nihilistic bent to Loose Manifesto that’s genuinely engrossing.
First single Black Narcissus is their take on the Stones’ Paint it Black: Eastern riffs, unrelenting tension and bleak imagery inspired by Rumer Godden’s novel of the same name set in colonial India. And yet you can’t escape the feeling Peabody were trying to make two records for the price of one. Every barnstormer is tempered by a Slint-esque plodder like Take it From Me or a chiming pop song (It Can’t Be Done). It would have been nice to hear them completely spaz-out – Darren Levin, October 2010
Beat Magazine (Melbourne)
The sticker on Peabody’s new album, Loose Manifesto, claims the record ‘espouses the punk rock aesthetics and themes of … Dada’. It’s a lofty, and potentially pretentious rhetorical construction. Dadaism was conceived in World War I and took aim at the military, bourgeoisie and capitalist obsessions of the time, and any loosely associated institution or cultural hegemony. Taken to its logical extreme, Dada could never succeed: true Dada, it was one remarked, hates Dada.
This Empty Road opens Peabody’s musical journey through the wasteland of contemporary existence: a stark, compelling narrative that ushers the listener to a world where meaning has been replaced by cheap slogans, and satisfaction has been floated on the stock exchange. Black Narcissus takes the tempo up four or five notches and Peabody are back into their frenzied comfort zone, tearing strips of the narcissism of our ego-filled paradigm; the lumbering rock of Dead Head captures the mind numbing idiocy of the political and media culture, where we’re all led like automatons down the path of cerebral submission.
On No New Riffs Peabody take simultaneous aim at the perennial quest of the young rocker to find another way to play the same three chords, and the flaccid rhetoric of the ageing rock gerontocracy unable to transcend their indulgent ‘70s memories. By the time of Choking, it’s all been strangled, Nirvana-style, by the tautness of its own astute observations on the inherent contradictions and failings of the modern world.
Mirror Mirror finds solace in a delicate pop sensibility, a catchy riff – maybe not a new riff, but who the fuck cares? – and some uplifting harmonies. I’ve Been Waiting is a pop classic screaming out for attention – and an eight-minute live jam to boot – while Loose Manifesto packs the attitude of a group of irreverent punk youths out to fight whatever institution rears its jaded head. After the soft-focus pop beauty of It Can’t Be Done, It Don’t Matter draws a line under Peabody’s journey with a UK punk flavoured nihilistic attack on anything, everyone and everywhere.
Peabody are right: meaning is about as rare in contemporary society as integrity in the right wing of the NSW Labor Party. But when you’ve got a band like Peabody creating records like this, forget about false meaning and lost direct ion and just listen to the music. It’s your only hope. – Patrick Emery, 29 September 2010
Time Off Magazine (Brisbane) – 4/5
Dadaism was an “anti-art” movement that began in Switzerland during the First World War, when many artists blamed the “logic” and “reason” of the capitalist bourgeoisie for the conflict. Visual art was characterised by the use of anarchistic collages, pasted together to illustrate the meaninglessness of modern life. So what does this have to do with Sydney alt-rockers Peabody? Everything, according to the band. Their fourth album Loose Manifesto was inspired by the aesthetics of Dadaism, and as a result it’s a noisy, eclectic mishmash of sounds and styles.
Peabody recorded Loose Manifesto in a shed in Ball’s Head, Sydney, on the same 8-track tape machine that Nirvana used to record Bleach. The record takes their DIY power-pop-punk sound in a number of varying directions. There’s the sweetly melodious No New Riffs, the rough-as-guts punk outbursts of Black Narcissus, Choking and Already Won, the bleak, existential beauty of This Empty Road (which features haunting viola from Nadene Pita), the lumbering stoner-rock of Deadhead and the six-minute Mirror Mirror, a mood piece you can dance to.
Some of the tracks sound more polished than others, and you get the feeling that was Peabody’s intention. Vocalist/bassist Ben Chamie’s lyrics are frequently cynical. In It Can’t Be Done he repeats the phrase “it can’t be done” while simultaneously urging us to “shoot for the heavens and reach for the stars”.
Loose Manifesto is so all-over-the-place and scattered that it basically lacks cohesion as an album. But the songs are surprisingly well-crafted, with melodic flair and quite striking guitar riffs. Whether it’s “anti-art” is open to debate, but you get the sense that Peabody achieved whatever their aim was. A richly inventive collage that pieces together to form a genuine work of art. – Daniel Wynne, 28 September 2010
Drum Media Magazine (Sydney)
For more than a decade, Peabody have done what they do – very well at times, it must be said – and always been just there, or thereabouts. There’s always been that frenetic, almost old-school punk energy to them, and that’s still here. But for Loose Manifesto, there are some other angles as well.
Sure, Bruno Brayovic’s clipped and emphatic tones are present and correct, with Ben Chamie’s still dismissive words of whatever’s shitting him at various times. Perhaps it’s just looking out and around, rather than being an eternal angry young man. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Recorded in the sadly temporary, but environmentally and acoustically intriguing, surrounds of an old workshop on one of the less romantic reaches of Sydney Harbour, it’s an album that often breathes. Opening track, This Empty Road, has some almost Triffids-like heat-haze and haunt to it – down to viola note cursing through it. If that worries long-time viewers, it gives way to the more typical suburban speed rush of previewing single, Black Narcissus.
There’s talk of Dadaist art philosophy, country car smashes, Dead Head’s softer drone of relationship defeat, and even It Can’t Be Done’s hymn of praise to Evel Knievel. And in I’ve Been Waiting, a love song and a melodic pop song of feeling. Then there’s the simply manic noise of the title track.
In that odd twilight zone between being fresh, young things and that hideous term, ‘heritage band’ – they say ‘stalwarts’ – Peabody have loosened up, tightened up and made a record that shows they are still capable of surprising – maybe even themselves. – Ross Clelland, 28 September 2010
Rhum Website – 4/5
Problem #1 When you download an album onto your hard drive then switch it into your iTunes, the tracks don’t always land in the right order. Thus I was ready to unfairly stick a boot into Peabody. Track three on Loose Manifesto would be a poor opener for this album. But ‘Deadhead’ is not the opening track, clearly. ‘This Empty Road’ is a crackin’ opener, good mid-tempo number, nice bit of violin, crystal clear vocals (the boy can sing). And ‘Deadhead’, with it’s slow tempo and build to squalling guitars, is perfect at track three. My bad.
Problem #2 I started listening to the album late-ish at night, so I kept the volume down. After I’d fixed the track order (around track four), I switched it to my trusty old Diskman, plugged in the earphones and turned the volume up. Once I hit volume 8-9 things started to make a whole lot more sense. Don’t listen to this album quietly.
Quick brush-up: these guys cut their teeth in Sydney in the mid-90’s at terrific band pubs like The Hopetoun, The Annandale and the Sandringham Hotel. They once named an album after a New Bomb Turks record and their long time producer is Jamie Hutchings from Bluebottle Kiss.
Australian Rock Radio eats fuck. And most Australian Rock Journalists also eat fuck. That’s why you may never have heard of Peabody, but you’ve almost certainly heard of Wolfmother, Jet and Airbourne. That doesn’t mean you eat fuck. You’re reading an honest respectable music website; you’ve got taste and things are looking good for us both.
They have a twin guitar sound that absolutely works for the greater whole; rather than just sounding like they started with a thin sound and a shit bass player, or they had a mate with nothing better to do. The album progresses in style, sting and slap your arse rockness, without ever sounding like they’re trying to prove anything other than that they were right to begin with. The lyrics are intelligent, clear and don’t ever make me want to cough up lunch with their pseudo-cleverness. Peabody are a rock band in the great style of bands who belong on the jukebox at The Tote.
Listen while drinking heavily and yell-complaining about the fact that you can’t smoke in pubs anymore. Preferably while the band themselves are playing. Hey, they’re playing later this month. Fuck yeah! – Steve Smart, October 2010
The Dwarf Website
Peabody hit album number four in fine health with no sign of slowing down or easing off on their highly strung indie rock. Perpetually underrated they’ve never really attained ‘band of the moment’ status or taken that step up to national success. They definitely have some songs here to do that, now they just need the attention.
Loose Manifesto kicks off with the call and response vocals of This Empty Road that harks back to New Zealand’s Verlaines, especially with the inclusion of some well placed strings to build the mood. The gentle start is quickly broken apart with the heady rush of Black Narcissus and its relentless drumming and some rousing vocals from Bruno Brayovic.
Recorded on the same 8-track tape machine that Nirvana used for Bleach is an impressive footnote for anyone’s album and they’ve achieved a nice mix of grit and sheen with the sound of the album. The faster songs are similar to current work from The Thermals with rousing choruses and punky belligerence. Their ability to sound intellectual and primal at the same time is one of the keys to Peabody’s appeal.
Jamie Hutchings wasn’t involved in the production this time round but his control room ghost is still firmly felt on Take It From Me, a dead ringer for mid period Bluebottle Kiss in terms of some spoken word vocals and its post rock guitar sonics. They do it exceptionally well and both that song and the glorious I’ve Been Waiting add some considerable balance to the more anxious moments on Loose Manifesto.
Though there are a bunch of memorable moments on the album there is a sense of looseness and drift across its forty two minutes. As you start to settle into the rhythm and plane of the music they take sharp turns. To shift from Choking’s distorted, spiraling guitar rock to Mirror Mirror’s gentle meandering warmth is a big jump. Both songs are great in their own right, especially the latter with its Crazy Horse electric wanderings, but that dislocation across twelve tracks does detract from an ‘album experience’.
Loose Manifesto extends the range and appeal of Peabody’s rock and stroll approach to guitar music admirably and they are edging ever closer to recording the great album they have within them. – Chris Familton, 28 September 2010
Mirror Mirror – Reviewed by The Vine
Staying in Sydney for a minute, smart rock stalwarts Peabody‘s fourth album Loose Manifesto comes out on October 1 via the band’s own Peabrain records. Recorded by Tim Kevin over just four days “in a shed in Ball’s Head”, the album purports to “ridicule the meaningless of the modern world through a series of short bursts, aural assaults, hypnotic rhythms, verbal sprays and carefully crafted diatribes”. What they miss here is “doom”.
Whenever I think of Peabody I think of forehead veins, sweat, punishing volumes and vitriol. So instead, here’s the awesome ‘Mirror Mirror’, a brooding, reverby, six-plus minute mood piece that cares not about waiting until the four minute mark to explode into one of the finer anti-guitar solos of recent times.
Black Narcissus - Reviewed by the AU Review
Kat Mahina (Melbourne) Review:
Sydney boys Peabody are one of those bands that have been around forever, and never quite achieved the recognition they deserve for being purveyor’s of fine Australian indie rock (remember 2005’s LP The New Violence? Pure gold). Their new single “Black Narcissus” is a tightly constructed track that showcases the strong musicianship of the band and their enduring ability to write enjoyable, fast paced, loud rawk. “Black Narcissus” is intense but fun, with the right blend of distorted guitar and pounding bass to wildly jump around to. A good taste of even better things to come from their soon to be released LP Loose Manifesto.
David Young (Wollongong) Review:
Amazingly, Peabody‘s last studio album The New Violence still sounds incredibly fresh and vital after so many years, its post-punk energy raging out of the gates. Their new single “Black Narcissus” keeps up this grungy vitriol and engages you almost instantly. The spiky lead guitar mixes a Johnny Ramone buzzsaw with Thurston Moore licks, while the rhythm section pounds through the arrangement as if they’re trying to break down a wall. Sure, plenty of bands have been peddling this kind of sound since Peabody’s last go around – Children Collide and Violent Soho immediately spring to mind. Even still, no Aussie act does it quite like Peabody – and it’s tracks like this that prove it. Bring on the new record!
“Prospero is certainly well worth the wait. In addition to the increased musical maturity you get an emotional insight and lament in the lyrical mix. Prospero is a confident and assured step forward for Peabody in that there is an awful lot more musical and lyrical depth to really listen to, not just sing-along to. It could well be the first step on the path to very Prospero-us times ahead for Peabody.”
Full review here.
DRUM MEDIA (Sydney)
This is the third studio album from Sydney band Peabody and it is something to be celebrated. Prospero takes the listener on a lyrical journey through the ins and outs of songwriter Ben Chamie’s own life and emotions, via various stories of love, oblivion, self discovery and drama. All manor of people are referenced in each song, from Kerouac to Kurt Vonnegut, Egon Schiele to the Rolling Stones, in order to make a self-removed reference point that covers each issue.
Prospero still delivers that rich shoegazing serenade and the signature discordant guitar droning (a vital ingredient to any Peabody release), only this recognisable sound shines a light on Peabody at the end of a meticulously well thought out, matured and rehearsed road that has led them to higher ground.
The opening track Egon takes a look at the life and times of Austrian 20th Century artist Egon Schiele and the dramatic relationship of lust and passion between himself and his models. The guitar hooks are left lingering and uncertain, much like the actions of Egon towards these poor girls. The haunting discordant guitar sound in Big Sur sets a fitting mood for the themes explored within, as it covers, via Kerouac, the issue of self improvement but as different pressures filter through, we’re often left right back where we started.
These are just a couple of examples of the brilliance of music and lyrics that create Prospero. As a body of work, it ties together beautifully and is definitely to be admired.
TIME OFF MAGAZINE (Brisbane)
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
“A richly rewarding listen, Prospero’s charms are perfectly positioned at the complex intersection of primal abrasion and intelligent emotional expression…. an album with a surfeit of stirring and emotional moments.”
* * * * Matt O’Neill
Full review here.
RAVE MAGAZINE (Brisbane)
“…a number of tunes that reach darkly melodic heights. It almost sounds like the group has been studying The Cure’s Pornography, in this record’s use of darkly psychedelic guitars and wailing melodies. It is the tougher, darker and more intense mood at the heart of Prospero that illustrates this Sydney four-piece’s considerable progress. Another effortlessly satisfying addition to the Peabody catalogue.”
‘THE NEW VIOLENCE’ REVIEWS
“…the picture they’re creating is approaching masterpiece status.”
Mark Nielsen – Drum Media
“Grittier, nastier and far more flamboyantly melodramatic, Peabody return with a vengeance on The New Violence… the sound of a band coming into their own. ”
Andrew Weaver – Rolling Stone
“The New Violence is my favourite album of the year so far; when I play it, nothing else matters, everything else disappears.”
Melanie Sheridan – BEAT Magazine
“It’s a strong collection, mainly driving and crunchy but sometimes spiky and urgent, always performed with a vital spark of menace.”
George Palathingal – Sydney Morning Herald
“…that’s where these guys differ from the current crop of angular rockers – they turn their influences into something entirely original. Turn up ‘The New Violence’ – carnage never sounded so sweet.”
Darren Atkinson – BMA Magazine
“With The New Violence Peabody have turned in a darker, angrier record than I think a lot of people expected, and, in doing so, have released what is so far easily the best CD of 2005. Everything on The New Violence is a revelation.”
Belvedere Jehosephat – The Wax Conspiracy
“I’m thoroughly convinced that 2005 will be theirs, because The New Violence is absolutely perfect.”
Mark Mitchell – The Brag
“Overall, the New Violence shows Peabody as that rare beast – a great rock band with something
new to say… a distinctive rock attack that in the end sounds like on one else.”
Brett Collingwood – RAVE Magazine