Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Decline
Pee Records, June 2015

Announcing the departure of half their band in January this year, Perth's The Decline haven't skipped a beat. The year so far has been a flurry of touring, recording, and commissioning new merch designs. For the audience, it's like nothing ever happened. Seamless. Keep Punk And Carry On.

New members Ray Chiu (bass) and Ben Elliott (vocals, guitar) aren't really new at all. They're both long-time friends and fans of The Decline and have toured with them before. It's a different collaborative force with the same spirit, drive and professionalism that the band has always had; a level of proficiency that proves punks can take the job seriously too.

Maintaining a decade-long pattern of endearing vocals and madcap, expeditious skate-punk music, their new release Resister is full of the same sound you already know and love, with stronger power-harmonies and noticeably more introspective lyrics. Every song on the 13-track album carries value - there are no fillers here.

Released last month, single Giving Up Is A Gateway Drug introduced us to the bands' new incarnation. Presented in the skate-punk tradition of provoking motivation rather than protest, the lyrics prompt us to chase our dreams. Interest is created with contrast between fast-paced and slow and tentative sections, loud and quiet parts, and a balance of harmonies and individual vocals.

In Almost Never Met You, the U.S. west coast skate-punk sound is composed more adeptly that anything recently successful bands have been able to produce, and we hear a rare personal story from Pat. The track features a well-developed and crisp sound that we've come to expect from The Decline. It's radio friendly and tipped to achieve commercial success - are you listening, triple j?

Ben Elliott takes the lead in The Blurst of Times, which he wrote, and we become better acquainted with his vocal abilities. His folk-punk background and storytelling abilities shine through and he doesn't shy away from using caustic vocal techniques to express harsh emotions.

You Call This a Holiday starts with Pat's gentle voice, accompanied only by his own electric guitar. The stripped-back sound evokes the intimacy of performing for a small group of friends in a dimly-lit grassy backyard. Two minutes in, someone turns the punk back on and Pat is joined by Ben, Ray and Harry, helping the track to make sense in the wider context of the album.

Musician friends visit for group vocals in closing track Start Again, and it wouldn't be a Decline album without some audio sampling. This time it's Yoda. 

Inevitably growing up, moving forward, and developing a more refined sense of self, The Decline have recorded a collection of catchy songs that will make you feel like they're your friends and they want you to sing along. Of course, you could join them at their next show and sing along if you feel like it. They launch their album tomorrow night at Jimmy's Den.

Article by Rrocklobster of Perth.

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