Quintessential Australian rock has been neglected this decade. Bands writing fun, lo-fi guitar rock have been shafted to local pubs around the country.
There has been a trend lately, exemplified by bands like DZ Deathrays and Violent Soho, leaning towards heavier, darker rock n roll. The Grates are turning that around on Dream Team – one of the best Australian rock albums in recent memory.
The sweet yet grungey voice of Patience Hodgson brings Dream Team to a new level. Over the album Patience explores a number of moods: the incredible carefree energy of Wild One, or the melancholic reality of suburban living on 7-Eleven. Patience croons “My mind feels like a 7-Eleven” as if it is the most relatable feeling on earth – and for east coast dwellers it make perfect sense. In fact, the Australian-ness of the album is the most evident, and in my opinion the best element of Dream Team.
The success of this album really hangs on the variation Patience and John Patterson have track to track. There is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs inspired rock chick screaming on Call Me, the drowned out guitar work on It Won’t Hurt Anymore reminiscent of mid-2000s British India, and the (almost cheesy) 90s grunge sounds on Friends With Scum. A highlight is definitely the 50s high school slow-dance What’s Wrong With You, where Patience’s voice soars and glides into a beautiful falsetto.
Holiday Home, the latest single off the album, masters the garage rock sound The Grates are best known for. Patience screams “I like to light fires on the weekend” with such sincerity that you can believe she is every bit the pyromaniac rock star the Brissy gal looks. But The Grates’ proudest moment has to be the stadium sized Back To Back; a deliciously sexy song and an unashamedly in-your-face anthem that captures everything Dream Team is about.
I can’t wait till The Grates tour. Their iconic lo-fi garage rock, complete with VHS fuzz and amplifier feedback is made to be played loud and live. Patience’s vocal personality is just begging to be put on a stage, given a face, and acted out. If you listen to one rock album this year, make Dream Team it.