THE GET AROUND EP - Hovercrafts (Cavalier Records)
I remember seeing Henry Rollins hosting (Australian late night music show) Rage sometime in the early 1990s, during which the always demonstrative Rollins took a considered pot shot at former Smiths frontman and serial (and allegedly celibate) foppish moaner Morrissey. "I look at Morrissey", Rollins commented, "and I just want to say 'lighten up man'. You've got all this success, the chicks think you're cool and you're still complaining."
The Hovercrafts are nothing at all like Morrissey - or even Hank Rollins. But they do exude a youthful energy and enthusiasm - and a vibrant garage pop aesthetic - that can be sorely lacking in today's independent music community. Sure, they're too young to understand how turgid life gets when things like dull day jobs, mortgages, parenthood and funded superannuation schemes start to dominate your waking existence, but fuck it, someone's got to write the songs that we can all enjoy and shake our proverbial arses to.
The Hovercrafts have been playing around Melbourne for a few years. Like so many bands before them, stability and local popularity only came after finding someone to permanently fill the drummer's seat. The band's debut release, "The Get Around EP", contains five tracks that vary in superficial style and ambience, but are bonded together by a consistency in attitude and quality of songwriting. If you're looking for obvious artistic references, you need not go much further than fellow Melbournians The Pictures, but with more Australian beach bum than London mod influence.
The opening track "Shake Some" - incorporating the oft-quoted "shake some action" line - has apparently seen high rotation on the Australian national yoof network, presumably due to its radio friendly (but not insipid) pop feel, and plethora of catchy hooks. Picking up - and lightening - the pace, "For the Love and the Sound" is bouncing piano pop with just a whiff of bubblegum. "One Million Regrets" is a laid back moment of romantic reflection, while "Damage Control" returns to a chunkier sonic aesthetic that builds from a pop rock feel to a climax of sparking guitar noise.
The final track "Around For Hours" is another slow and sweet track, dominated by soft vocals that might offend harder rockin' Bar patrons, but could just as easily provide the late night soundtrack to young, alcohol fuelled romantic liaisons.
The Hovercrafts have developed a reputation for energetic and crowd pleasing live shows. Like so many bands of similar style and age, they're on a quest to carve out a reasonable niche of the plentiful - Patrick Emery
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