Album Walkthrough: SCABZ premiere and break down their debut album, Pressure
The soaring Sydney-based punk trio unveil a debut album that's rich with high energy and striking commentary on the world around them.
Over the course of the last few years, Sydney-based punk outfit SCABZ have turned into something wonderful. Since sharing their self-titled debut EP back in 2016, the trio have consistently gone from strength to strength, furthering themselves and their sound with pockets of explosive indie, rock, punk and pop that breaks down their respective worlds as well as the world around them too; striking with sharp lyricism and thick-footed melodies that have captured the attention of many since their first beginnings.
It's something that's really shined within the last two years or so, however. Brett Lee's Got No I.D. (And He Can't Get Into World Bar) brought one of 2018's funniest songs through a title that still cracks us up all this time later, while tracks such as last year's Feel Good Summer tap into the punk energy to carve out messages about climate change, sending a big "fuck you" message to those destroying the planet through three-minutes-thirty of rushing melodies and pacing vocals that constantly get in your head.
Premiering on Pilerats today ahead of its official release this Friday, November 27th, SCABZ' debut album Pressure brings a mix of both into the limelight, bringing an introductory moment that really doubles down on the strengths the three-piece have shown over the last few years, and how they've used that to inform their best material to date, packed within ten tracks. The album is sharp and pointed, channelling frustrations, anger - even surprise - at the world around them into moving indie-punk that switches from ferocious to something a little more comparatively subtle, depending on the song.
It's an album that seems to capture the broadness of SCABZ' sound; the pub-punk of acts like Bad//Dreems, the pop of The Divinyls and Stevie Nicks, the mania of acts like Royal Headache all coming together with a deeper emphasis for lyricism that separates SCABZ from the pack - and damn, Pressure really shows that. The trio really take on everything through the course of the record, bringing forth messages and stories with their own distinct charm that gives it a twist from the rest of the politically-charged music out there.
COVID I Reckon, for example, is a bit of a light-hearted spoken piece that jokes about awkward coronavirus small talk, while Just At The Pub (Gossin' With The Gals) taps into a heavier second half of the album with the same laughing lyricism. On the other hand, however, there are tracks like its title-track Pressure - "I was struggling with watching Scomo not care about the fires; it rocked me," - and Julia Gillard’s Misogyny Speech, an album-closer that looks at the infamous speech and its lasting effects of politics and sexism all this time later.
One second they sing about vegan Magnum icecreams, the next they quote Julia Gillard. There's no album quite like Pressure, and if that's not SCABZ' charm then we don't know what is.
Listen to the album as it premieres on Pilerats below, and underneath that, dive into an album walkthrough where the group dissect the album's themes and creation one song at a time.
We were all a bit obsessed with IDLES when we wrote this one. It was about a day or two before we were going into the studio and I just chucked my guitar into D-tuning to see if anything interesting would come out of it. I wrote the lyrics as I was chopping firewood. Our producer Dan (at Defwolf Studios) lent me a sick Reverend guitar to use on this one. It’s got such a strong and almost joyous sound to it that worked well.
We wrote this one at the beginning of 2020 and managed to play it once live before lockdown. I was struggling with watching Scomo not care about the fires; it rocked me. I was full of anxiety, and on the verge of a breakdown, so we wanted the bass and drums to kind of emulate that constant build of pressure.
This is one of the first tracks we recorded so we get could get the stems over to Vuli who played the sax solo. We wanted it to sound somewhat nostalgic as well as chaotic. We spent a good chunk of time trying almost every pedal in the studio to get that siren sound right.
Heart Of Nothing
This one was fun to record. I enjoy playing songs that don’t necessarily follow a typical structure. Each section needs its own tone and expression to keep momentum throughout the song. The end once all the guitars come in was also just so hectic there was like ten amps going.
Covid I Reckon
We called this track the ‘palate cleanser’ of the album. Lozzy whipped up a bass line, and this lovely ballad sounding song came out. We figured we should have something about Covid in the record and we had all just gone back to work that week and were comparing stories of dumb shit customers were saying. So, it kind of ended up being a bush ballad about the pub.
Just At The Pub (Gossin’ With The Gals)
I reckon this song ended up being peak SCABZ. There was an organ upstairs in the studio that got a bit of a workout, and we got a good gaggle of gals in for the gang vocal. We tried to keep the feel as ‘gossipy’ as possible. I think Kane's beat and Lozzy’s bass nailed it.
We’d just written three serious songs in a row so thought we should do a stupid one about getting pissed, so this is it.
This is our Aussie Pub Rock song fuck yeah put ya horns up. How good is free money? So good. We held nothing back on this one. We pretty much just put everything on full and went for it. I’d committed to playing the piano on it before realising how hard it is to play that fast, but we got there in the end.
Have you fucking tried them?!?! They’re so good I wrote a song about em.
Julia Gillard's Misogyny Speech
As the gang were coming over for a jam, I had the thought it would be funny to write a song, and ‘the lyrics are just word for word J Gills speech’. Lozzy turned up to practice with this doomy bassline and it just kinda happened. Dan was stoked when he heard the demo for this cause there was good reason to bring out all the fancy gear like the space echo.
Watching Loz do death growls in the VB tracksuit that sound heavy as fuck, and so casually at 4 in the arvo, was probably a highlight of the week.
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