Album Walkthrough: Paradise Club break down their self-titled debut album
The Adelaide band's debut album, out now through Farmer & The Owl, is both full of charm and fierceness.
When it comes down to it, Paradise Club are all about having fun. Since their emergence back in 2017 (or before that, amongst the Adelaide live space), the Adelaide-based four-piece have emerged homegrown champions at this hazy, yet upbeat brand of indie-pop that feels distinct to their own lane; bringing together sounds from a wide-ranging variety of influences and listenings and distilling it down into one, genre-bending flavour. It's something that over the last three years, we've had the pleasure of watching grow, with everything they've put out seeing them evolve and further their sound into differing directions.
It's definitely been a quality-over-quantity affair, however. While streaming encourages acts to share a dozen or so tracks a year (to the point where it's near-impossible to keep up), Paradise Club's discography is short-yet-sweet, full of work that deepens their sound and sees the band progress, rather than remaining stagnant in one place. In saying that, it's always worked. At the core of every Paradise Club release is us begging for more; their "one or two songs a year" build-up to this point keeping this concise and focused, but everyone awaiting their next step.
Now, in 2020, things are all coming together. Last Friday, the Adelaide outfit shared a sound-encapsulating debut album, or in other words, the opportunity for the group to further introduce themselves in a long-format release, and experiment with what they do. Paradise Club (the album is self-titled, further pushing that introductory spin to the record) is a warm collection of tracks that are dizzying yet clear and concise, with the group using the 11-track breathing room to showcase sounds they've worked with before, while also looking forward to the future, and teasing opportunities for future growth we're all incredibly excited to see.
The album's backbone is firmly rooted in this hazy, 1975-reminiscent dream-pop charm that feels fleeting in sound but heavy in lyricism and emotional punch. It's a contrast that sees itself blossom in some of the album's most defining and central moments, with tracks like All You Got - one of the album's opening cries - pairing these dancing guitar melodies and lush pop songwriting with lyricism that explores the complexities of loss and life, and learning how to appreciate those around you before it's too late.
It's a potency that feels really central to much of the album, and while the record does have its emotional high points, you can tell that every melody is underpinned with a longing sense of emotion and passion, as frontman Gere Fuss introspectively examines the world around him and distils it into high-tier, crafty indie-pop. The Seed, the album's slow-burning opening single, is another example. "The song talks about a rough patch I was in, going out every night, but then moves to explain that through all of that I was able to build friendships and earn experiences to write about and look back on with a smile," Fuss explains.
Out now through their new home at Farmer & The Owl, the record is a brilliant introduction to Paradise Club that encapsulates the band at their most powerful and potent, while looking forward to routes that could come to define the band in the years ahead. In the meantime, however, take a dive into their self-titled debut album with a track-by-track walkthrough from Gere Fuss, who breaks down the album's themes and sounds one song at a time:
Jack and I literally spent three days writing the chorus. I flew to Melbourne for a few days to finish off the album. We spent two and a half days writing absolute shit. We knew this would be the first song on the record and wanted something memorable. A couple of hours before driving back to the airport, we finally had it. The song talks about a rough patch I was in, going out every night, but then moves to explain that through all of that I was able to build friendships and earn experiences to write about and look back on with a smile.
All You Got
We filmed the video in January, about 500km out of Adelaide in a town called Cowell, where it can get up to 45 degrees. So myself, Huon (Pisoni - Bass) and our long time friend and collaborator Kyle, loaded up the bike and got into my Hilux, which has no air-conditioning.
Seats soaked in sweat, we made it to our friends Liz and Raymond’s place. Got some sleep and then went straight out to film at sunrise. We shot everything we needed that morning, so we decided to make the trip home that day. Liz warned us that we should leave later on, or perhaps the next day to avoid the heat, but we didn’t listen.
100km down the road I notice the temperature gauge climbing, so we pull over. Thanks to my heat fuelled delusion, I rip the radiator cap straight off. Like a blender without the lid, coolant explodes all over me and the windshield. After some burn cream and distilled water, we carry on for the rest of the five-hour drive, stopping at every town to top up the car, while baking in the still, dry heat. We reminisce about that drive purely because of how fucked it was to drive 1000km in two days without air-conditioning at almost 50 degrees.
To be honest it’s damn near impossible to play. It was one of those tracks where we threw all of our ideas at it, and they all stuck. I got a new Macbook and sat down to write, and this is the first thing that came out. Typically I write lyrics on my own then bring them to the group, but one night we were jamming it all sort of blurted out of me.
We pressed a 7 inch of this. For some reason, the pressings took a bit longer and weren’t ready until the day before the Above Me tour. Huon had the covers in Adelaide and Jack (Newlyn - drums) went and picked up the records from pressing in Melbourne, as soon as they were done. We met the next day in Brisbane for the first show of the tour and went to the nearest record store to listen to them. The tours revolving around the release of this song were some of the best memories we’ve made so far.
Huon made a three-note sequence that repeats throughout the entire song. Forever. I had to check it again now and it literally never stops. I'm not sure how we pulled that one off but it came together easily. It’s interesting how a simple idea can develop.
The oldest song on the album, and the song that gave us a lot of great opportunities early on. I think it gave us the courage to put music out that made us feel slightly scared or insecure, which is something we are embracing now more than ever.
I Guess it’s Okay
We've been playing most of the album live for a while now, and most people compliment the new stuff. But this one gets the most "when's that one coming out?" response. This is another song about breakups and heartaches.
This song started as a 30-second synth and bass jam at Huon’s place, then I took it home and turned it into something real. It was left untouched for at least a year before Jack wanted to give it a go for the album. But I had lost the original logic file, so we only had the demo bounce to recall from.
This song is about the time I fell out of love with someone, recognising they had too and more or less being ok with that.
Heart of Gold
Our first headline tour. We played the last ever show at The Record Crate in Glebe, Sydney. We got asked to fill in for a few hours at the pub next door because the cover act pulled out, too bad at the time we only knew how to play eight songs. Our friend Tom threw a house party after because us being there coincided with his birthday.
Me and You’re There
Our friend Jem’s favourite PC song. He told us this story of him sitting on the couch (incredibly high) listening to this song thinking about his girlfriend, thinking “fuck I love her so much” so if that says anything, pretty cute. I remember writing this song after coming home from a night out. It was basically just my recollection of the night about being fucked up and meeting up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time but in hindsight, probably shouldn’t have caught up with in the first place.
This was recorded around the same time as Heart of Gold. We played it live for a while then we all sort of forgot about it. At the eleventh hour we revisited the production and gave it a new life. Out of the few options we had for the last track, this one felt the best. This song outlines the disrespect I had for myself. At the time I made a lot of bad decisions, which is OK because you learn from your mistakes. When I write, I often refer to another person and occasionally that other person is myself.
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