Melbourne supergroup LOSER have launched their debut EP Restless Noise and I owe my condolences to LOSER as I have played this record to death. The rock/punk trio all come from previous projects with great success. With Tim Maxwell of Apart From This, Chris Cowburn of The Smith Street Band and Craig Selak of The Bennies all comprosing into one team, it’s not hard to understand why this release is currently off the hook. I can only imagine the collection of tour stories that these guys have up their sleeves. Somehow the mass of musical talent behind LOSER was news to only myself and the rock I’ve been living under; for this I’m grateful however, it allowed me to experience Restless Noise from an unbiased perspective and open mind.
The accumulation of influences and variety of sound across the EP is mind-boggling. Each tonal shift is so subtly executed that I will find myself deep into a new genre without even so much as a warning. The first track “Phase Me” for example, really comes across as a Brit-Rock song with sounds reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys and SHARKS. If you love “Phase Me”, I absolutely recommend both of those acts. The beautifully melodic guitars are almost dreamlike over the melancholic lyrics. The opening line of the chorus “I don’t wanna feel the pressure now”, is so poetically helpless that you can’t help but chime in. The contrast of pleasant sound to rather forlorn lyrics creates a rich and tasty palette for the listener. It’s the type of music that would make your grandmother smile partnered with thoughts you’d never want her to hear.
The lead in to the title track “Restless Noise” is easily my favourite part of the EP: Maxwell’s bouncy and soft vocal rhythm crashing into Cowburn’s cymbals is something to be celebrated. There’s nothing better to wake us from the dreamlike state of the first track than some bright and splashing cymbals. The pulses laced throughout the songs tempo really hooked me in. It’s a peculiar flow that I describe as a 3,3,2 pattern; count “one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two” in each bar and there’s your melody. I feel a lot is owed to the percussion on this track as it truly is the driving force behind that buttery, warm sound all over “Restless Noise”. The thud-after-thud melody had me ‘leg-drumming’ on the train, to the point where other commuters began to glance my way. It wasn’t my fault, I was compelled by LOSER.
The thing that amazes me about the EP’s third track “Vacation” is that it feels like a vacation. The band offer us a small, four-minute vacation from the world. The tired tone, lazy lyrics and relaxed rhythm make me feel like I’ll need to be peeled off the couch afterwards; as the song itself details. I love that all I want to do is melt into some furniture during a listen. I get some serious Weezer vibes from this track and I can’t think why that would be anything but a good thing. The procrastinating chant repeated at the end “Whatever, tomorrow, just forget about it” is something easy to connect with; we’ve all had those days, months or years. Push some things to the side, do it tomorrow, hopefully tomorrow never comes for some things.
The beauty of this EP is that we go from that depressed, unmotivated state to the moment where everything feels good again. Tomorrow has arrived in the form of the track “Loser” and it’s not the painful, dreaded time you imagined; it’s the best day in fact! The lead in gave me enough time to snap out of my down state and primed me to hit the ground running. Some killer riffs have me literally unable to keep my head still, it’s the kind of track that requires me to drop everything and do a bit of thrashing. I had to turn the song off to write this part as I couldn’t keep the imaginary drumsticks out of my hands long enough to type. The Citizen-like wails of “Just leave me aloonnne” are bound to get me red-faced and with a worn-out voice after a few drinks. The “Can I just say something?” choruses strike me like Turnover has been cranked up a few notches. The track itself in fact is like someone took the two acts, gave them a romantic dinner, room together and waited nine months. My biggest praise of Restless Noise is the pure amalgamation of sound that comes together so well. If this is what it’s like being a loser, then I guess I’m a loser.
Sadly, the last track is up which means the EP is almost over. The silver lining to that is that Restless Noise is just going to get another spin. “Some Say” is a track for fans of Nirvana and Basement, which is just another addition to the huge market LOSER have encapsulated. My complements again go the thrashing cymbals that really help the chorus have some gritty, guttural impact. I cannot celebrate the band’s instrumentation enough. Praise does also have to go Selak’s talent on “Some Say”. The smooth tones guide the listener right through the song and could do forever honestly. It’s another example of the contrast that makes LOSER stand out so well, the steady flow of bass against the harsh backdrop of grunge is perfect. “There’s no way out” are the last words we hear on Restless Noise and once you’re stuck into LOSER, I have to agree that there is no way out.
I loved this EP. It was a showcase of musical talent, influence and knowledge. If this is the LOSER pitch, a taste of what to come, then it’s safe to say not only will I be on the bandwagon, but I will be leading it. If you can go through this EP and not click with a single song, then congratulations I applaud you as you’d have to be the first human being made of stone. The highlight of Restless Noise is the band’s namesake itself, the track “Loser”. I can’t wait to see what samples of sound they follow up with next, but for now we have plenty to enjoy.
Restless Noise is out now via Domestic La La.
LOSER bring such a rich combination of sound without losing any of their self-identity. The EP is short and sweet, nothing is dragged out and the best stuff leaves me wanting more. Fantastic production with such a large sound.