In a parallel universe, Straight Arrows never exists. As a result, everything sucks. Sydney continues in a vein of ignorant, cliched and ultimately placid indie rock and alt-country. It becomes a city of mediocrity, where absolutely nothing dangerous or exciting happens. The scum, filth and riveting thrills of the Sydney we know, are gone. Everything takes on a shade of grey, and everyone becomes boring as batshit. Life is as bleak as opening up some Cocoa Puffs and finding out that cockroaches have eaten the whole thing, leaving no high-carb, chocolate-stained treats for you to enjoy. In summary, this alternative timeline sucks balls.
Now, I’m not saying that Straight Arrows are the be-all-end-all of Sydney’s, or Australia’s, alternative scene. But you’d be a fool to ignore their status as one of the first cult bands to emerge and have a substantial effect. They’re 2010 debut album was a tour-de-force in having fun, being an obnoxious teenage wanker, and not taking yourself seriously. It was the refreshing breath of air that Australian music needed, and caused a shit tonne of amazing bands to form and follow the standard that Straight Arrows set.
Four years on, and Straight Arrows release their sophomore record, ‘Rising’. Now, I’m not sure what they’re rising to. Because once you’ve reached the top, were do you go? Everyone that knows the Straight Arrows name loves them. Besides conquering the adoration of the continent, Straight Arrows have pretty much risen to every other challenge. I guess it’s in reference to our (read: ‘Straya’s) pulse at the prospect of the amazing material on this album. Or maybe it’s a dick joke. Who knows?
Anyway, the material on this album is just as exploitative of fun times as ‘It’s Happening’. I’d like to say that Straight Arrows have ‘matured’ and ‘grown’, and taken a The War On Drugs stance to music, enveloping the listener in a cool, crisp glaze that shatters their expectations, and lulls them into a new take on life and love. Fuck that. Straight Arrows are pushing boundaries, breaking down the walls of fuzz and generally fucking shit up. They’re destroying my eardrums and I love it. I want more. Straight Arrows are a Class A drug, and Owen Penglis is my dealer.
To prove my point, you could check out any song on this album. Seriously, do a random search, and the song you land on will force your legs and arms into the caterwauling dance manoeuvre known as the ‘Drunken Don’t Give a Fuck’. You’ll cringe, laugh, spew and punch a cone all in the same movement. Where’d you get weed from? That’s all part of the mystery.
For example, ‘Never Enough’ is a good place to start on Buzzfeed’s 10 Reasons Why Str@ight Arrowz Rule (I assume Buzzfeed’s editorial board consists of 12 year old boys who haven’t figured out how to jerk off). The song is a blast of rock that has more punch than Muhammad Ali using your chin as a speedball. There’s giant sloppy riffs that crash upon you like you’re tied up underneath an avalanche. And the chorus is a fucking brutal thing made to be screamed at your ex-partner from the window of your apartment, throwing assorted clothing at their slowly disappearing car.
Likewise, ‘Make Up Your Mind’ gets the unruliness started within seconds, trawling the brains of listeners through a chemical experiment of partied-out guitars, bleeding drums and lovesick, fed up lyrics. It’s the kind of thing that Romeo would’ve made if he’d listened to The Stooges and The Soft Boys, and had stuck around with Juliet for more than a second, and gotten sick of her, as that egomaniac inevitably would have.
And then there are the songs on ‘Rising’ that make out like they could’ve been ripped from lost compilations of the 60’s. ‘Nuggets for the Perpetually Interesting’, as they were probably called. Anyway, tracks like ‘Don’t Call My Name’, ‘Can’t Stand It’ and ‘Without Ya’ have the aesthetic of a New York loft that Patty Smith used to own, that’s been filled with the love-children of hippies and punks. They’re romantic tracks soaked in propane guitar and lit with teeth-rotting garage rock.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. There’s shit to do, like watch The Big Lebowski for the 74th time, drizzle pepperoni pizza with peri peri sauce, and think about what goes on behind the heads of people that replace the word ‘to’ with ‘2’. Seriously, what the fuck happened there? But what can be said with total and utter certainty is that Straight Arrows have officially and irrevocably created an album that will never stop being fun to shout, scream and throw up to. ‘Rising’, like its predecessor, will be the soundtrack to many boozed up, fucked up and turnt up nights in the future. Party on Straight Arrows, party on.
‘Rising’ comes out through Rice is Nice Records on Friday, June 13th. That’s next fuarkin’ week! WOAH! AND! They’re playing Newtown Social Club the night after (Saturday, June 14th). If you haven’t seen Straight Arrows, your life isn’t complete. If you have, you’ve probably already gotten yourself a ticket. TV COLOURS! AND SPIRIT VALLEY! ARE PLAYING SUPPORT!!!!!