Continuing our musical exploration of Australia, this week’s Sounds from Australia lands in the often disregarded city of Adelaide.
Adelaide is the fifth biggest and much-maligned capital of South Australia. It doesn’t have the glittering skylines of its much larger counterparts and has the feeling of a big town rather than a capital city. It’s a place which struggles to have its voice heard, despite being surrounded by incredible food regions and some of the best beaches along the southern edge of Australia.
Where: Adelaide. The fifth largest city in Australia. We’ve all heard of it but know very little, if anything, about it.
Who: Bad//Dreems. A four-piece outfit making enough racket to ensure their home city is overlooked no more.
What: They are unforgivingly Australian. They are belligerent and unabashed. They sing about small town nothingness, isolation and anxiety and wrench you along for the ride. There’s nothing particular innovative about what they do but that’s entirely beside the point. They are raw and they feel vital. No more shoe-gaze garage pop rock and piss poor Tame Impala imitations, here is a band striking out on their own trail through the Australian musical landscape.
Their origin story itself is the stuff of Australian folklore. The band met playing at a local football club (Aussie Rules). They practised in an abandoned warehouse in Adelaide’s West and played their first gig at a mate’s house party. And their humble beginnings translate seamlessly into their music. There’s an inescapable coarseness and honesty that runs through everything the band creates.
The band showed real promise with their debut EP, Badlands and lit up Adelaide on the map. But their sound really came together on last year’s Dogs at Bay on which they dropped the indie pop pretensions and put the pedal to the floor. The album cover art is a statement in itself and a perfect preamble to the record. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the iconic album cover of The Libertines. It depicts an unbreakable bond of brotherhood, with two beaten and bruised young men staring resolutely down the camera’s lens.
With the atmosphere of the record firmly set, the opening three tracks ‘New Boys’, ‘Cuffed & Collared’ and ‘Bogan Pride’ are irrefutable proof of the bands intentions. These tracks are overtly cathartic anthems of angst and abandonment.
And whilst these weightier moments are certainly the most instantly gratifying appeal to Bad//Dreems there are some more thoughtful moments that help flesh the record out, namely ‘Ghost Gums’ which sounds something like a Smiths record filtered through the cultural isolation of the Australian experience. Tracks like this illustrate a band capable not only of smashing through the ceiling but also picking up the pieces after the chaos is over.
Adelaide, we hear ya!
New Boys (Dogs At Bay)
Bogan Pride (Dogs At Bay)
My Only Friend (Dogs At Bay)
Home Life (Badlands)