Regular John

Strange Flowers
September 10, 2012

Right, I love being involved in the Australian music scene. The last couple of weeks have been exciting, with Hunting Grounds hitting it big and Something for Kate announcing their reformation and new album.

But what about Regular John and their new album?

Regular John have hit back in a big way on their second long-playing release, even after the success of their first EP followed by their debut album The Peaceful Atom is a Bomb , which stormed right into Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums for 2009. On top of all of this, they were named “Best Rock Act” by the same magazine.

I guess they don’t really need me heaping praise on them as well. Nonetheless, when presented with an album like Strange Flowers, it’s hard not to.

The album opens with a bang, Sky Burial, and it doesn’t really let up from there. This particular track is reminiscent of some more experimental, shoegaze acts like Animal Collective and Smashing Pumpkins. The airy, muddled vocals are a trend that continues through the entire album, with the band not being afraid of a little reverberation. Lead single Slume is a delightfully fuzzy number that has some resemblance to a conglomeration of bands like Yuck to vintage acts like Led Zeppelin.

The tracklisting of the album is quite daunting, but this isn’t due to the large number of tracks, rather the length of them. Whilst not 20 minute progressive rock epics, they all ring in at least 4 minutes in length.

Centrepiece of the record, Crystal Ball, sounds like a B-Side to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, with a heavy, downtempo bass line that swirls around your ears and takes you back to the great shoegaze bands of the late 80s to the early 90s.

As you’ve probably noticed through reading my review thus far, what’s really interesting about this record is trying to pinpoint the influences on the record. The band cite more than just musicians and composers, they go as far as to maintain that authors, filmmakers and philosophers put their influence on their timbre when constructing their records. These people include director Stanley Kubrick, director of cult classic A Clockwork Orange, and visionary agnostic philosopher Robert Anton Wilson.

From listening to this record, one thing resonates with me strongly. It’s clear that Regular John are climbing up the ranks in Australian alternative rock. They’re going on a tour to support this, their latest endeavor. I implore you all to catch them if you can. These guys seem like a band who flourish live, and you’ll want to be the one who caught them just on the cusp of their explosion onto the Australian music scene. Between these guys and Children Collide, I think we’re in safe hands Down Under.