16 years old. Feeling fresh, feeling fine. Got the whole world at my feet. The biggest problems my kind face are detentions, Maccas food poisoning and the two second slumps of depression associated with getting inevitably dumped after two weeks. It makes sense then that when cruising around Triple J Unearthed, the acts I was drawn to were ones loaded with angst, pushed by the same angry exuberance that I felt. Chicks Who Love Guns, Zeahorse, Sweet Teeth – man, what a treat! Oh, and of course, Ouch My Face’s “Knockouts“; didn’t that cop an absolute thrashing! That ungodly bass riff, combined with the spunk of front woman Celeste Potter and wiry wall of guitar made me fall head over heels. I was smitten.
But then, Ouch My Face sort of disappeared. Other bands popped up, and I became as distracted as an acid freak at a Colour Run. Occasionally, that snarl would rear up in iTunes, and the thought of “Fuck, what happened to that band” popped into my head….but that’s about as far as it went. Until approximately a month ago, when they dropped this album on Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher’s label Milk! Records.
The same zeal and flair is there, the exact same deranged desire to mash the riot girl of Bikini Kill and Babes in Toyland with the over the top rock rush of Jane’s Addiction or Queens of the Stone Age. The bass lines are still buzzsaws ready to tear you limb from limb, the guitars are still made from that taught wire that assassins use to decapitate victims, and Potter still sounds badass. None of that has been lost even remotely over the past five years…if anything the band’s senses are heightened to predatory levels of instinct.
What has changed are the smarts surrounding the songs – there’s far more on ‘Bunyip’ there feels like there are few more unique things to sink your gums into, as opposed to a collection of rock songs. Beginning with “Creep Heart”, the heart monitor-propelled ode to stalking, Ouch My Face also go for a great Future of the Left impression on “Rejection”, and some thrashing grunge courtesy of “Pointy Horns”. Then there’s the playfully evil gleam “Do The Wrong Thing”, which is essentially a theme song for Chucky the Evil Doll. These are just a couple examples of the fierce fun available on ‘Bunyip’.
This album is full of short, sharp and utterly badass tunes. Close your eyes, pick a track, and press play, and there’s a guarantee that something with all the nuclear nature of a Cold War film plot device will be revealed. ‘Bunyip’ is rock, played tight and with gnashing intensity, a Tasmanian Devil of churning instrumentation. But best of all, it retains the goal of making music that will set a live show alight. Ouch My Face may have taken a while to get their debut album out, but they’ve never faded from existence, and they certainly haven’t forgotten how to have fun on an album.
You can grab ‘Bunyip’ from Ouch My Face’s Bandcamp here.