A classic ‘less is more’ mistake is an unnecessary blemish on a record that otherwise can stand proudly amongst its classic Aussie pub rock forebears.
Change of Heart is the album, or in this case mini-album, that Australia has made its priority for decades – the Big Dumb Rock Record. Whether you first heard it from Dallas Crane, Jet, Grinspoon or The Angels, not much in the template has changed. Kingswood (the good ole Aussie suburban tradition theme runs deep) is four mates playing in a garage in Melbourne, inevitably downing a few cheeky stubbies, and in that respect, as much from this decade as any of the past five.
Just because it’s the latest in a long and feted tradition doesn’t mean that Change of Heart shouldn’t offer something unique. Admittedly, the eight-track “EP Deluxe” starts with its most derivative moment, the sub-three minute guitar assault ‘She’s My Baby’, featuring drums reminiscent of James Baker’s tribal beats on Hoodoo Gurus’ ‘Leilani’. From this fun but forgettable start, the songs are split evenly into those that absolutely work, and those that would benefit from a little spontaneity.
The single ‘Medusa’ falls into the former group, a thumper highlighting Fergus Linacre’s rough but nuanced vocals, that swing between sweet soprano and canine growl within a single line. ‘Ohio’, a bluesy southern rock – or even R&B – song is the ultimate high here, and in a perfect world, this harmony-soaked song would be playlisted on radio stations across the world. Then, in an unlikely second half twist, those beautiful harmonies are the record’s undoing. On a run of consecutive songs, Linacre’s lead vocals are replaced by song-length two, three and four part harmonies, which while technically faultless, restrain potential raucous rockers like ‘Yeah Go Die’ into upbeat folky-choir performances.
BY SIMON TOPPER
Change of Heart is out now on Capgun Kids/MGM.