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Album Review – Different Beings Being Different by West Thebarton


Album Review – Different Beings Being Different by West Thebarton

So I’m reviewing a release from a band from Adelaide, Australia, named after a part of a suburb far away from the market I’m reviewing this album release for. The simple reason for that is because the UK will take this act on as a festival favourite if they ever touch down in Blighty. The album is Different Beings Being Different and the band is West Thebarton. Get on it.

A bit of background before we get through this corker of an album. I first came across this band when they were called the West Thebarton Brothel Party and they were playing a festival as an ‘unearthed’ artist. I got a text saying – YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS – and there on stage was what seemed to be about ten people on stage putting a riot to music. Some of the ground was losing their shit, some were bemused but most were grinning like maniacs. I thought that I better review this because its gold, but it never happened. Next thing I was flying to London just about to land in Qatar and the guy in front of me gets up and he’s wearing a West Thebarton Brothel Party t-shirt and, apart from seeing how he’s going to get through the conservative customs with that shirt, I thought – that’s a sign.

So some time later the band has the shortened name and an album that takes me back to the very earliest days of punk. This album is weaponised belligerence, making a big deal about little things, through driving tunes and a way of going about it that bumper-bowls between chaos and bedlam. The seven piece band play an upbeat brand that is across between the laconic Dune Rats, the plugged-into-the-electrics of the Tony Font Show, with the chaos of the Systemaddicts thrown in.

The album Different Beings Being Different kicks off with the trials of Moving Out, which is a song that’s been out for a while, at least I heard it a while ago. It’s an insanely good track. Just start any gig with this and the night is set to go off. Going back to the opinion that this is an album about the things in life that get in the way, it’s also a checklist for anyone looking to move out. We learn that that West Thebarton play guitar like they are shredding cheese and, if you’re looking for a place to crash, ‘fuck the East man, the West is the best’. Brilliant track and Wikipedia mash up.

But don’t get cocky kid, the Basics and Stuck on You tell us that the band can crack a melody all punctuated with a vocal that sounds like a complaint against whatever you got. I got a huge throwback to Steve Ignorant with this vocal (Thinking The Crass – Sheep Farming in the Falklands). Don’t get to say that too often as most vocalists are playing at being pissed off.

The album is eleven tracks in total and the first three could just be taken out and played at any gig and that would be enough to get amongst it. I thought that this album was going to be a one trick, though enjoyable, pony. Then off we go to Bible Camp and all bets are off. This is immense. Its upbeat, melodic and a hark band to the second wave of punk when bands sung about bugger all but we were wrecked by a thumping bass line and a jangling guitar striking out the tune. This is a track of the year for me, defo top five, and that’s after being through about 250 albums so far.

Then we get some feels with Reasons and much slower paced number that is just looking for a …well…for a reason. Somebody has been dumped and it looks like the band has been replaced by a thoughtful seven piece, but then in drops that jangling-overdriven guitar, all underscored by a gang-vocal. Again, a solid track that tells us that West Thebarton really have something to offer.

Anatomy takes us back to the song about not too much and it’s a punky number. Laces weren’t tied and legs are broken. But, that melody grinds along and that overdriven dystopic guitar saunters through the track. This bookends into Ivan, which has a guitar melody in it that is awesome but probably would benefit from a less intense vocal. This could be track of the album but it gets lost in amongst the hate for Ivan. All I can say, is don’t trust him.

Do You Believe starts with a straight forward riff and a lyric with a lot to say and squeeze in. This is straight forward, no-nonsense good old fashioned punk. Some buck told me that West Thebarton were Adelaide Grunge – yeah, whatever! This is straightforward, no-nonsense, let-loose, get amongst it, punk. Driving guitar and learn the lyrics in two minutes proves my point.

Second to last, On the Hill, starts off with an acoustic guitar, which is a bit like bringing a potato peeler to a gun fight. This whole album is a setlist. It’s a festival in a box, it’s a show in a sleeve. Whoever arranged the order of these tracks, good work, you can come back Monday. Following Do You Believe is a tough stretch but here we are, this is music to lose your shit to.

And then we close out the album with Set it Straight and it’s all gone a bit mature. Thought when we are coming round to set it straight that could be anything cause we are in a complicated moment. This might be the sober version or the wash-up of Stuck on You, but whatever it is a way to close an album. It’s totally unexpected but another standout track in amongst an album that is chocka with quality. If this album doesn’t talk to you then you lost the ability to use basic motor skills. This is one of the best Australia releases I have heard in a very long time. Get amongst it!

Review – Craig Grant