Rock’s not dead, it’s always been here, bubbling and boiling, brewing and stewing below the surface and poking it’s head out to assault our ears every now and then before taking a backseat to allow other ‘genres’ to have a fair go. One of the greatest things about loud, brash, guitar music is its simplicity. And that’s exactly what Tired Lion have connected with on their new EP Figurine; a raw, brash entirely not over polished piece of work.
We’ve said it before, Perth bands rock. Tired Lion is the shining, grunge fuelled example and they work wonders on their Figurine EP.
Formed in 2010 and hailing from Perth, you know that ever attractive and increasing musical mecca west of Sydney, Tired Lion have been around long enough to have developed a solid sound along with a sturdy attitude and opening track Pretend wastes no time in getting to the punch line. Brilliantly contrasted guitars square off in the verses before combining forces for a paired onslaught in a chorus fit for a universal moshpit. The first minute of the EP was like someone had punched us in the ear, it stings at first but then there’s a strange warming sensation as your blood begins to rush.
Immediately recognizable over all the delicious noise is the vocals of Sophie Hope, clear as day, piercing and howling enough to match the venomous guitar work of Matt Tanner, the driving backbeat of Ethan Darnell and the bass, well the bass gets to shine on Suck, a number reminiscent of early Metric. Without Nick Vasey’s bass the song would be a different animal, it’s cool, it grooves, it slides all over the song and when the raucous chorus drops in makes you really appreciate the existence of the ‘pocket’ and that there is such a thing as bottom end. Beware of the punch dance in the live setting of this one.
The quartet’s pop sensibilities and influences begin to take a centre stage with recent single I Don’t Think You Like Me, we’re treated to a wall of insecurities and guitars wailing like a strangled cat in what we can only describe as a delightful homage to anything 90s. Whether you like to admit it or not, the decade released some of the best music and the flannelette shirt would not be the icon it is today without it. Tired Lion are aware of this and proudly wear their love of bands like The Smashing Pumpkins and The Pixies proudly and firmly on their sleeve.
Speaking of The Pixies, EP closer December has a very Where Is My Mind or Bone Machine feel, it’s hard hitting drums and a choked lead guitar delivering a feeling of angst that we strangely welcome with open arms. Credit is due to producer Dave Parkin (Karnivool, Emperors), who manages to capture the anxiety and intensity of a live show and lay it on wax, here’s hoping that Blackbird Studios is still in tact.
We’ll be honest and say the EP wasn’t loved immediately but with each listen it grew and attached to us like a proper earworm should. There is an underlying depth that becomes apparent with each listen, it’s catchy but has substance for you to chew and marinate on later if you feel like getting a little introspective. The influences are all over the EP and that comes through as an endearing quality rather than a tired copy. When you simplify the formula it’s amazing how fresh it can sound.