Satellites – Black Dog (Review)

Brisbane’s Satellites are a trio consisting of vocalist Mitch Chamberlain, bassist/vocalist Dan Goodwin, and drummer Riley Boyce. Seeming to attract line-up shuffles, it doesn’t seem to hold ‘Sateez’ back from making great music. The punk rockers teased their future release with their single “Thread”, and have solidly followed up the single with their Black Dog EP, releasing 29th September. We went track-by-track and checked out the EP.

The EP starts with “Home Sweet Home”, previously released by Satellites last year to a positive reception. It begins with heartbeat pulses and carries a riff that truly does feel like coming home. “Home Sweet Home” feels like a quest to get a message through to someone, along with some sadness and frustration.

“Face your every mistake
You know you can’t run from the past now
There is no escape”

As the song continues the resentment grows and the sound strengthens, as though the band are seeking more determinedly to be heard. This is strong and unified rock and a solid opener to the EP.

Second on the EP is “Thank You” and we seem to be crashing a party with this track. The vibe is chilled and relaxed and we’re feeling good. The feeling is welcoming, and that all of these people feel like home.

The punk rock edginess at the bridge with a drum interlude was an unexpected and awesome addition to the steadiness already heard in “Thank You”. This comes with a sick breakdown and ‘What! What!’ in-your-face-ness.

Big guitars and drums lead us into “Thread” at the third track. As I found when I immersed into “Thread” when it was released as a single, the song easily conjures up the mental image of seeing a stray thread and wanting to pull it, but you’re not entirely sure what will unravel in the process, and whether you’re brave enough to deal with the outcome of it.

“My heart says pull the trigger, cut and run
Instead I fight this war inside my head”

“Thread” with its huge choruses feels like an inner fight between self-doubt and possibility. It’s alive with hope at times as well as feeling the heaviness of that inner wrestling match.

“Glassjaw” instantly felt like freshness and optimism to me. As the song went on, it was clearly goosebump inspiring newness and looking for something to offer a fresh start. The guitars are a standout on “Glassjaw” and feel homecoming; harkening back to who you are. I found the guitar work moving in itself, feeling like reminiscing on good times and wanting to create more good times ahead. My impression of “Glassjaw” is “We’ve got this, we can make it”, and the passion to never give up on making more for yourself is palpable with unclean vocals, as well as the determined strength that is felt behind the band’s sound.

A beautiful beautiful bridge in “Glassjaw” tenderly connects in with well-meaning people, explaining to them that they know that they’re on the right track even if no one understands. This is one of those songs which might make you cry and you’re not even sure why.

The following track, “Through Gritted Teeth”, felt like conflict and trying to make sense of things. Sateez seem to be confronting others to give a shit instead of their apparent ineffectiveness. There is this sense of being considered a fool for wanting to care, which the band tackles head on as the song comes to a close. A building outro culminates a repeated message and the choice that they’ve made; to stand up for things, even if seen to be foolish. Satellites want to be heard.

“I’d rather be a fool that spoke his mind than a gutless fucking coward, a man without a spine”

The last on the EP is “Johnny Ray”, in which a person is observed in living with a mask. The track ‘says’ “I care about you and I want you to come out from under your facade of negativity”. There is frustration in seeing someone stagnate under the weight of old beliefs that they just rotely spill out onto others. “Johnny Ray” is raw honesty in their face, and has a beautiful ending, dropping into gentle guitar and beats.

“Do you think for yourself?
Or are the words that you’re spewing reflective of somebody else?”

These six tracks combined on Black Dog are strong and unified messages to the world from Satellites. Their statements are poured out with care as well as frustration, trying to shine a light on areas where responsibility and acceptance of the truth is needed, as opposed to ignorance or avoidance. Despite the forces behind the tracks on Black Dog, there is an ongoing thread of encouragement and support, acknowledging that as well as inspiring listeners to make something more for ourselves, and not become complacent; when the fire dies down there is warmth there. Black Dog is an impressive and solid EP by the Brisbane trio.

Satellites - Black Dog
  • EP Rating
    8
The Good

Strong and unified sound. Real topics shared with honest emotion that is easily felt. A showcase of the band's capability; being able to express gentle heartfelt moments through to expletive-heavy frustration.

The Bad

The tender moments experienced on Black Dog make me want to see more of that side of the band. A ballad style of track would have been icing on the EP cake.

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Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it.

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