Andrew Stafford’s incendiary book on the history of Brisbane music, Pig City, has now given birth to a record label of the same name. And Strange Ways, the debut full length release from Brisbane trio Some Jerks, is the first record to be released under its imprint.
The band, consisting of singer and bass player Victoria Watson, drummer Simon Walker and co-vocalist and guitarist Will O’Brien, have variously plied their trade across a range of Brisbane acts such as The Aampirellas, Brindle and Kewpie Doll. And their pedigree and ability to craft catchy tunes without blanding out is amply displayed across the album’s ten straight to the point and right on the money numbers.
Musically the band expertly combine a moody, lilting girl group ethos, trebly, surf-laced guitar and melodic garage smarts with a hint of 90’s indie. Pixies by way of the 60s.
Opening track Napoleon jumps out of the blocks with a driving guitar riff and the sweet yet biting vocal presence of Watson. Bridget is a darkly noirish number with evocative male-female vocal interplay and a twangy mid song interlude. Title track Strange Ways sets the bar high, its drivingly bruised vibe augmented with layered female vocals and knowingly contemplative lyrics; “with all of our strange ways, would it be the same again?”
A cover of Slayer’s Raining Blood may sound bamboozingly odd in the general context of the band’s sound, but the frenetic surf guitar treatment the band give it lends itself perfectly to the ominous vibe of the original.
Rabbit Hand is a frantic 30 second rock-out interlude before the garage-surf stylings of Wild Man return the record to more familiar territory. The band go out in a feel good wave of melody in the form of a cover of Blondie’s Dreaming, a sweetly catch way to round out a highly impressive set of tunes that stick to a punk ethos of no song more than three minutes long. Strange Ways delivers a smash-bang killer set of tunes, and is an impressive entry point for Pig City Records onto the recorded music landscape.