Redspencer: Perks

It is tantalizing to think of what Redspencer could do with a serious budget.
Deaf Ambitions

Melbourne, Australia, has for the past several years received increasing attention as being home to one of the more fruitful indie music scenes going. Though the city doesn’t have a predominant sound a la Grunge to put a reductionist finger on, there does appear to be a small but growing faction of indie rock bands — such as Lower Plenty, Good Morning, Chook Race, and others — that have a predilection for burying smart melodies under scruffy recording values and purposefully imprecise performances. A Slanted and Enchanted counterpart of the Dunedin Sound from across the Tasman Sea.

Enter Redspencer, born when Aiden and Dave McMillian moved to Melbourne from New South Wales toward the end of 2013. The brothers eventually found guitarist Alex Buchanan and bassist Andre Franco, and Perks is their debut album. Production-wise, it befits a young upstart group. Songwriting-wise is another matter.

Their inherent knack for switchback Laurel Canyon chord changes and wind instrument flourishes (“Spare Me”, single “Rainbows”) is but one starting point from which they draw insightful, era-crossing stylistic connections, all with vocals that regularly evoke a specific timbre of Damon Albarn’s, circa Blur’s late period highlight “Out of Time”. Artists have a way of writing their best material from a position of hunger, and at least some of Redspencer’s appeal might hinge on that value, but it is tantalizing to think of what they could do with a serious budget.

RATING 7 / 10