I like to think of myself as a pretty thorough music journalist, a man of the quill-cloth, who digs as deep as is necessary in order to pull the best story imaginable, a creative hive from which some of the best hyperbolic nonsense has been spewed forth. That’s all a load of horseshit, obviously, because I’m lazier than a guy who types “metaphors for laziness” into Google to come up something witty to put into an album review on his shitty blog. However, I did at least read the description of Tempura Nights’ Soundcloud page. Apparently, this thing started off as a “joke band”(!) which leads me to reckon that if these guys created a “serious band” then Armageddon would surely follow. Tempura Nights, a joke band, I will remind you, have catchy as hell, bass-driven thrashers soothed out with dreamy vocals more healing that any losenger.
Formed within Brisbane’s burgeoning garage-pop scene, with members of both Major Leagues and Go Violets (RIP), Tempura Nights is a trio that distinguishes themselves with the slight edge they push into their songs. Don’t take that to mean they’re edgy – they don’t match up to Eminem in 2002 by any shape or form. But for a band with an infinitely pop sound, there is definitely something boiling beneath the surface.
Take “R.I.P Chix” – it’s a song that would fit in well with bands like Vivian Girls, La Sera, Best Coast and Summer Twins. You can easily picture yourself lounging on some Californian beach, ironically large sunglasses and broad-brimmed hat adorned, cheeky tattoo peeking out from underneath a vintage, yellow shirt. But there’s also a storm there, gnashing in the opening lyric of “All the girls I’d like to meet are dead”, delivered with a headbanging riff and a sweetly snarling sigh.
Tempura Nights manage to be both tumultuous and riveting, a perfect storm of mingling instruments locked into hazy melodies that soak themselves into your ears. As far as pop releases go, the “Whine EP” is perfect, a Breeders-ode that would make Kim Deal herself throw down her guitar in exasperation.
The beauty of Tempura Nights is how insanely easy they seem to make things. From the sickly-sweet “Brainroof” chorus that melts into a hollow, bellowing solo, to “Child Model”, which makes you want to jet to the nearest guitar and learn how to strum a chord and envelope the soul the same way Tempura Nights are able to.
At only four songs long, the “Whine EP” seems far too short, a quick in-n-out introduction to the make-out/fast food/vintage adoring world of Tempura Nights. But I feel as though all Tempura Nights need for the time being, to showcase a few detached, irresistible jams for the world to finally take notice to, and allow for them to pay their dues towards. Tempura Nights – they’re fun, but grounded and varied enough so that boredom doesn’t even broach the equation.
The “Whine EP” is out now on Heath Street Wax, and Tempura Nights are part of the MATES lineup, which also features Palms, Straight Arrows, Bad//Dreems, The Gooch Palms and bunch others (including yours truly playing a Judas Priest/Madonna only DJ set). Lansdowne Hotel, 25th Jan, tix here. See yoiz there