The Mantles European Tour single OUT NOW !!!
"Memory" b/w "Undelivered" 7" (SDZ 018)
co-released with Slumberland and Les Disques Steak
Order online / Commande en ligne
Since their 2011 SDZ single "Raspberry Thighs", San Francisco's The Mantles have kept on creating their own sound, somewhere between 60 garage and psychedelics, Kiwi sound of early Flying Nun releases and the false frivolity of C86 bands. If their approach seems more "pop" since their second album "Long Enough to leave" (Slumberland, 2013), the guitars remain razor sharp. Neither lunatic nor fully melancholic, the band is all about chiaroscuro, as you can hear in the two brand new songs featured on this single, "Memory" and "Undelivered". This single is a joint release between SDZ, Les Disques Steak and Slumberland. It will be available next week, in time for The Mantles first tour in continental Europe (see dates below).
Depuis leur single "Raspberry Thighs" (SDZ, 2011) les Mantles ont continué à forger leur son, mélangeant subtilement influences garage et psychédéliques 60s, le kiwi sound des premières sorties du label Flying Nun et la fausse frivolité de certains groupes anglais de la scène C86. Si leur approche semble plus pop depuis le deuxième album "Long enough to leave" (Slumberland, 2013), les guitares restent tranchantes comme des lames de couteau soigneusement entretenues. Ni lunatique ni franchement mélancolique, le groupe de San Francisco joue sur les clair-obscurs avec une grande habileté comme le prouvent les deux nouveaux morceaux étincelants de ce single, "Memory" et "Undelivered". Un single qui sort conjointement sur leur label américain, Slumberland, et deux labels parisiens, SDZ et Les Disques Steak. Un disque qui sera notamment disponible sur leur tournée européenne cet automne (dates ci-dessous).
"The Mantles are one of many fine rock bands in the Bay Area with their own unique twist on jangly, infectious garage-psych. New single “Memory” reminds us that the Mantles’ particular twist involves faint echoes and a fervent post-punk edge. This is an immensely likable rock ’n’ roll song, playful yet melancholy, jaunty in tempo and catchy as hell." - Stereogum
Mantles European Tour 2014
24/10 Paris, FR @ Espace B w/ Ela Stiles, Délicieux Enfant
25/10 Rennes, FR @ Le Marquis De Sade
26/10 Vénérand, FR @ L'Ogre Rouge
27/10 Oviedo, ES @ Lata De Zinc
28/10 Santander, ES @ Escenario Santander
29/10 Madrid, ES @ Costello
30/10 Barcelone, ES @ Lupita Del Raval
31/10 Genève, CH @ Le Cabinet
01/11 Nancy @ Le Totem w/ Rev Rev Rev
02/11 Utrecht, NL @ Ekko w/ Sebadoh
03/11 Anvers, BE @ Trix w/ Sebadoh
04/11 Bruxelles, BE @ Madame Moustache w/ Ed Shrader's Music Beat
05/11 Saarbrücken, DE @ Summa Cum Laude
07/11 Augsburg, DE @ City Club
08/11 Frankfurt, DE @ Dreikoenigskeller
OUT NOW : the debut album of Old Mate !!!
Old Mate "It Is What It Is" LP (SDZ 017)
Order online / Commande en ligne
Available in North America from Easter Bilby
in the UK from Norman
Old Mate is originally the solo project of Pat Telfer from australian band Bitch Prefect (two albums on the Bedroom Suck label).Formed in Adelaide but nowadays based in Melbourne, Old Mate here presents its first album, "It Is What It Is" following a self-produced EP in 2012 and a debut 7" single on Major Crimes in 2013. Still centered around founding member Pat Telfer, Old Mate are now a strong cast of 7 - 10 musicians including members of Peak Twins and Wireheads. From their early songs Old Mate have kept a certain melancholy that spices up this debut LP. Eight songs all in false flat, constantly and brilliantly defying an infinite monotony. Suspended on the fragile life line floating on the horizon, these not-so-calm songs are often stirred up by the thick limbo of permanent doubt. Frequently staring at the blind spot, the reality spot, Old Mate have conceived an album for the heaviness of the daily grind. A saxophone is sometimes warmly welcomed by the band, like sparkles in the Baudelairian spleen. One might think sometimes of Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, "Dreamy"-era Beat Happening, The Go-Betweens or some contemporary bands of the great australian scene like Dick Diver and Kitchen's Floor. Oh and some weird funky stuff too (check below the video for "Stressin"!). A first album with a great deal of character.
Old Mate est à l'origine le projet solo de Pat Telfer du groupe australien Bitch Prefect (deux albums sur le label Bedroom Suck). Formé à Adelaïde, Old Mate est maintenant basé à Melbourne et ce "It Is What It Is" est leur premier album après le EP autoproduit "Word is bond" sorti en 2012 et un 45t sorti fin 2013 sur le label Major Crimes. Toujours centré autour de Pat Telfer, Old Mate est désormais composé de sept à dix musiciens dont des membres de Peak Twins et Wireheads. Des ballades de ses débuts, Old Mate a gardé une mélancolie qui donne tout son sel à ce premier opus. Ces huit chansons tout en faux plat défient avec brio une monotonie infinie. Suspendues sur la fragile ligne de vie qui flotte à l'horizon, ces chansons sont parcourues d'intenses tremblements, dans les limbes du doute permanent. Le regard souvent perdu dans l'angle mort, celui du réel, Old Mate a conçu un album pour l'enclume des jours. Un spleen qui s'embrase parfois au détour d'un sursaut magnifié par le groupe, aidé de temps en temps par un saxophone de bon augure. On pense parfois à Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Beat Happening (époque "Dreamy"), The Go-Betweens mais aussi à quelques contemporains de la bouillonnante scène australienne comme Dick Diver et Kitchen's Floor. Oh et à du funky bizarre aussi (regardez la video de "Stressin" ci-dessous!). Un premier album qui ne manque pas de caractère.
Mate on Facebook
"“It is what it is” becomes
a mantra on ‘Medicine Man’, the first track off Old Mate’s debut LP. At
over 10 minutes, the song’s plodding wrangle gives a false impression of
what’s to come. It’s an odd choice, but this is odd music. And even if
‘Medicine Man’s dumbness gives no indication of the genius that lies
ahead, it doesn’t make it any less a master stroke. What it does is draw
the listener under a warm blanket with Old Mate. From here he can
introduce you to the soundtrack of your coming weeks on this strange
earth. It Is What It Is gives the impression of nonchalance, but this is
a meticulously plotted master class in songwriting.
Second number ‘Requesting Permission’ is a sonic hammock. Pat Telfer’s glossy vocals and lazy guitar strokes bob away as the current gently draws the song through a perfect solo to a beautifully logical solution. The strumming pace is upped for the next tune, ‘Something’, but the thing’s still cotton-woolly enough to tie it to what we’ve heard so far. The rhythm swirls around and around as a slightly off-kilter voice bangs on about not much at all – more a case of the vocals acting as a secondary percussive instrument than revealing anything beyond inanity. Lonely-man lament ‘February’ comes next and this time the lyrics sit prominently in the foreground. The dusty desert vibes and the drop in tempo here draw a line back to the opening song, but this one barely lasts long enough to get stuck in any kind of whirlpool of sound. Our friend simply says his piece and disappears into fading light.
The second half of the record – it’s only eight tracks but, with an average length of over four and a half minutes, they’re generous offerings – kicks off with the hypnotic ‘Stressin’’. This track is so chilled it makes the diazepam of earlier number ‘Requesting Permission’ feel like an early-morning drug raid. Again, the few lyrics that appear on the song are of no real consequence, but they break the pulse of the beat just enough so you can catch your breath and give it all for that last 10 seconds of boogie at the end. The pace comes up again for ‘Know What He Wants’ and a bit of sax combines with a snappy beat and dabbly guitar to create a somehow cohesive slow build to oblivion.
‘Him’ takes this record to a whole other place and it’s borderline celestial. The song’s lyrical simplicity glows over a smouldering clatter of spare drum beats, awkward guitar pokes and horn honks. This is pop writing that could easily translate into commercial-radio-playable, hit-factory-type stuff, but Old Mate’s treatment of the song, as with so much of this record, is so sinister and off-putting that it makes for a far more satisfying experience. From the ashes of ‘Him’ rises ‘Truth Boy’ – a denouement of sorts – which assembles the constituent parts of the preceding songs and presents it all as one fabulous chunk of post-punk boldness. It’s flawless." - Mess+Noise
"Old Mate began as a solo-project by Bitch Prefect’s Pat Telfer. They now became a real band that consists of 7-10 different musicians including members of Peak Twins and Wireheads. "It Is What It Is" is an album of loose rock music that’s brimming with personal lyrics about the dreariness of everyday life and failed relationships. One of the most impressive things about this album is how Old Mate balances "monotony" and "variety". The "monotony" part is made with stripped-down, repetitive structures. When it comes to "variety" the songs show several different influences ranging from indie, post-punk, blues and psych. The sporadic use of piano and saxophone leave an airy mark on the songs, but in spite of all that instruements the songs never sound busy. There’s a certain atmospheric quality to this record that is difficult to describe and that's one of it's main secrets." - Ride A Dove
Is What It Is? Really, Oldmate? You do realize that’s what the
ad director at The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y., said to me as he was
laying me off in 2008 right (the idea being: layoffs are what they…
are?)? No? OK then, you get a pass for drudging up that memory because
your smoky post-blues messenger service is quite effective at delivering
the sort of rock you just don’t hear much in the underground nowadays.
But consider this a warning wrapped in a query, the latter being: Is
there a market for Oldmate in this day and age? I say maybe not, and
that’s just about the highest praise I can give a young artist in a
world of sound-a-likes. Creating music so far outside the periphery of
what’s purportedly ‘happening’ is one of the best ways to organically
make things ‘happen.’ The main problem is, most bands simply don’t have
the guts to attempt the forbidden; it’s so much easier to settle for a
solo synth album or an electronic mash-up of the indie-dance telephone
book. FUCK THAT, play guitar, bass, and drums and GET YOUR GODDAMN ROCKS
OFF, like Oldmate. The only problem on my end is coming up with apt
comparisons for y’all to hitch your ‘should I buy this?’ wagons to. As I
said before, it’s been so long since I sat back and let such a
restrained, hearty blues-rock album roll over me I’ve got zippo for ya,
save this entirely ridiculous stretch: Stephen Merritt fronting a slow
Fresh & Onlys tune? The label that also brought you El-G’s La
Chimie had absolutely no right to drop this anomaly off at my
door, and I’m glad they did." - Tiny
"It’s another great piece of
down in the dumps, black and blue rock. Australiana meets Americana.
Songs soaked in box wine and cheap beer, set decrepit neighbourhoods and
between shitty relationships. There is a rhythm here that moves, a
rhythm that one must keep when moving through life to avoid being left
Old Mate is the newest outfit helmed by Pat Telfer (Bitch Prefect). What originally started as a solo project has now expanded and features members of Peak Twins and Wireheads. It Is What It Is is the debut LP from the group, coming after an EP in 2012 and a 7” in 2013.
It’s another great piece of down in the dumps, black and blue rock. Australiana meets Americana. Songs soaked in box wine and cheap beer, set decrepit neighbourhoods and between shitty relationships. It’s a nice departure from the jangle and strum of Bitch Prefect, reflecting more the day drunk desperation of Kitchen’s Floor.
This is a terrific album thanks to some cunning instrumentation and a willingness to add flavour to the bluesy murk. Piano, saxophone and other intriguing bits and pieces create some airy texture over the fundamentals. Telfer’s brooding croon is exquisite. His purposefully flat delivery adds gravitas to his tales of daily monotony, over drinking and failed relationships.
The music helps to lift the vocals above the subject matter; for example, the sax on ‘Know What He Wants’ adds a sense of urgency to, what I gather is, the tale of a man seeking to take from others without consideration. The album seems to look at abusive relationships in society; abuse of substances, abuse of the self, abuse of others – it’s all pretty grim yet there is an interesting dichotomy at work with the instrumentation, preventing the listener from getting bogged down in the grittiness. We are made aware of the topics at hand, but are constantly moved along by the strong musical current.
It Is What It Is seems to be about the exploring the hard facts of life but not being able to do anything about it. Life is what it is; you can’t do a damn thing about it but live as best as possible. This album is about trying to do that but not always being successful. This is a largely entertaining album, I can imagine it transitioning well live – an experience I hope to catch soon. There is a rhythm here that moves, a rhythm that one must keep when moving through life to avoid being left behind. The road points straight ahead, where it leads is anyone’s guess. Old Mate walk the road, playing I Spy with what they see along the way; observant and honest music and something to treasure." - Weirdo Wasteland
"Les 8 morceaux du disque font preuve d’une maitrise impeccable du rythme, de la mélodie et des ambiances, même si l’on discerne clairement les influences : de Giant Sand à Beat Happening, de Lou Reed à Rhythm Activism. Les compositions sont très riches et offrent des surprises à chaque nouvelle écoute. En résumé, le disque idéal de la rentrée." - Contre-Cultures
"On a parfois un peu de mal à
se repérer dans la masse de groupes qui arrivent en flux tendu
d'Australie, tous passionnants, et qui manifestent un certain penchant
pour l'endogamie : side-projects de side-projects, all-star bands de
types inconnus, il ne se passe pas une semaine sans qu'on tombe sur un
machin sorti du Bush, monté de toutes pièces avec des morceaux d'autres
formations, qui nous mette peu ou prou à genoux. Une méthode qui a fait
ses preuves consiste à envisager ce territoire sauvage comme un ensemble
de scènes locales juxtaposées, et à rattacher des groupes à une ville
(en général Melbourne ou Brisbane). Aujourd'hui, Adélaïde, cité
populeuse de la côte sud, dont Old Mate fédère un certain nombre
d'acteurs : Pat Telfer, son fondateur, est membre de Bitch Prefect,
groupe gentillet de jangle pop qui a essaimé dans Peak Twins et
Wireheads, tout ce beau monde collaborant sur It Is What It Is, premier
album de cette formation d'une dizaine de musiciens qui paraît sur
l'excellent (mais un peu rare) label français SDZ Records (Cheveu,
Il faut toutefois prendre un peu de hauteur pour appréhender la musique de Old Mate, qui s'éloigne du son d'Adelaïde comme de certains de ses compatriotes (Twerks, Dick Diver), et sort des sentiers balisés de cette jangle pop qui compte ici des ancêtres plus glorieux qu'ailleurs (The Church, The Go-Betweens). Old Mate est bien décidé à ne pas se résumer à un genre, et présente un album dont aucun des huit titres ne ressemble à un autre : c'est un album à tiroirs, à chausse-trappes, mais qui contrairement à d'autres fourre-tout plutôt réussis (le premier Total Control) ou ratés (le second Total Control) trouve une cohérence dans le ton, une manière de se répéter dans la variation qui tient essentiellement à l'immense mélancolie de l'ensemble, la tristesse inconsolable de celui que les gens et les choses ont irrémédiablement déçu.
It Is What It Is, donc, « c'est ce que c'est » et pas autre chose : constat tragique du fait que le réel est le réel, sans arrière-monde. Sur la monotonie d'un univers indifférent (figuré par les structures répétitives des morceaux), il s'agit de broder des motifs inédits, fragiles, comme des châteaux de sable finement ciselés que la prochaine vague de déceptions aplatira, mais qui reflètent autant d'humeurs passagères, autant de variations sur le spleen. C'est bien la mélancolie la plus tenace qui donne sa teinte à ce disque d'« atmosphère », du blues chamanique au milieu des crotales de « Medicine Man » au post-punk fatigué de « Truth Boy », en passant par la sublime ballade « February » (voix de cronner à la Lee Hazlewood, mal maitrisée, presque fausse, comme Beat Happening à l'époque de « Dreamy ») à « Stressin » et son clip lynchien, faux dance-rock au groove toujours parasité par une forme d'engourdissement, de langueur abattue. Si vous cherchiez un Vieux Pote pour pleurer sur son épaule, Old Mate est là." - Chronicart
"Après le Toulousain Armure,
SDZ records change d’ambiance et de continent en s’entichant de la
superbe nonchalance rock de l’Australien Pat Telfer, échappé du groupe
Bitch Prefect, et s’entourant pour ce premier LP d’Old Mate It Is What
It Is de membres de Peak Twins (lire) et Wireheads. Et quoi de mieux que
de citer à nouveau le patronyme choisi par Telfer, Old Mate, pour
embrasser la langueur délicieusement monotone de ce projet faisant
passer Malkmus et sa bande pour des maniaques du bpm ? De l’introductive
et obnubilante Medicine Man à Requesting Permission, mis en images par
l’intéressé lui-même, tout est mise en oeuvre pour que, de ce côté-ci de
l’hémisphère, l’été se prolonge pour quelques temps encore, perdu dans
les volutes de quelques réminiscences, flottant entre Syd Barrett et Lou
Reed." - Hartzine
"On Old Mate's debut LP It Is
What It Is, Pat Telfer (of Bitch Prefect fame) has transformed himself
again. With help from engineer Tom Spall, the album is pierced with
spacey synths and tape machines that warp traditional blues, country,
pop and garage numbers into some compellingly strange terrain.
Opener 'Medicine Man' is an evil ten-minute plod that delivers a tale of a despoiled doctor. If the previous 7" on Major Crimes had traces of Leonard Cohen's broken heart, then this track comes through as an epic worthy of The Bad Seeds at the height of their gothic western infatuation. This is especially true through to the last minute of murky delay and decay where the album's title is repeated in mantra-like menace.
Pat's voice is always captivating, both in its stretch of registers and the conviction with which he uses it. It goes from low and monotone in songs like 'Something,' to creaky and near falsetto on the mournful Neil Young-esque ballad 'Him'. It always seems open to revealing honest strains and failings. “And I know that it's sad, and you know that it's true,” from 'February', which is a lonely and sombre tune with whispers of Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold The World' throughout it's only verse.
One last anomaly (but an excessively enjoyable one thanks to its excellent video) is the penultimate track 'Stressin'.' Its smooth and idling groove eventually gives way to the shaking of 'Truth Boy' where they play with phrase boundaries, rock and roll piano and the rumbling guitar fuzz to summon visions of a grand visitation, or the righteous return of a strange lost soul arriving home." - The Thousands
"One band that seemed to both
be confined by and outstrip the ill-fated "dolewave" genre pigeonhole
was South Australia's Old Mate. It may have been in the name; it may
have been in the droll drawl that lead Pat Telfer (Bitch Prefect)
delivered his sometimes-weary, sometimes-jacked-up lyrics. But just as
many of the bands that were tarred with that brush over the last two to
three years have moved on by incorporating stranger tics and tricks to
their bag, Old Mate's new album It Is What It Is (out through SDZ
Records) explodes, its core aesthetic spreading in every direction like
the impact of a paintball on a white wall. Don't let the kangaroos
boxing on the cover dissuade you from acknowledging that we are entering
a whole new world.
'Medicine Man' is a gargantuan jazz blues number - seriously. Sure, it's used and abused and flung in the corner to dry, but the 12 bars, the solos, the howling space, the husky vocals are all present and accounted for. It's a strange opener - it's a strange choice, considering the band's back catalogue - but then nothing should surprise you with these guys (remember the other half of Bitch Prefect is the chameleonic Liam Kenny...). From then on we are taken to one surrealist vignette to the next, in a battered limousine al Carax's bizarrely brilliant Holy Motors film from 2012, with Telfer the ever-present ringmaster of the macabre. 'Requesting Permission' is back on terra firma, a downer jangle with dour vocals a la Brisbane act Dag, with a melancholy that reminds me of the solo work of Neil Young in his early years - really - or that first recipient of the Grant McLennan Fellowship back in 2007, Charles Curse. But this isn't the needle and the damage done. We step up with 'Something', a vocal that sounds like Macka from The Onyas having a go at an acoustic number. It isn't overtly funny though - the tempo, the backing vocals, the 'hey hey hey hey hey heeeey, hey' lending a desperation to proceedings. 'February' is a lament in a netherworld saloon - the Gothic drawl reminiscent of another dormant Aussie act, Nikko - holding that plodding, maudlin beat for its entirety, and drags you down with it.
Then we hit a sonorous contemplation with 'Stressin'', a lysergic percolation of languid rhythms (for some reason Im tracking back to some of those subterranean grooves the Stone Roses often doled out) in what is generally an instrumental track, except for some growled, rolling-around-the-mouth vocals (and yet another video featuring that post-Soviet kid in the nightclub, which really looks like a sequal to the film Orphan); the sax burbles into the fervour underscoring 'Know What He Wants', a fine addition here; 'Him' re-enters the Young orbit, albeit in a warped fashion, offering layered nuance that promises more than it gives, with lyrics that imply never learning from mistakes; and closer 'Truth Boy' evokes another crooked minstrel of the Australian musical landscape, Nathan Roche, although there are no Sydney references in sight, just some Aussie sardonic sneers...
It Is What It Is is a bizarre and inexplicalby attractive record. The title tells it all, thus making this review, or any really, redundant. Old Mate, Telfer, the music - it is what it is. Deal with it." - Sonic Masala
"The band’s bluesy, sombre
rock – in contrast to the bright jangling of Bitch Prefect – is the kind
best listened to with a swishing glass of cheap whiskey in one hand, and
a burning cigar in the other." - Tone
"Of Lou Reeds many
contributions to popular music, his embrace of the dirty and noisy is
surely chief among them. While his hippie contemporaries were spreading
the message of peace and love to the rhythm of chirpy modern blues
riffs, Lou and his ilk recounted tales of heroin, prostitution and
sexual depravity to the tune of guitar drones and corrupted black
rhythm. While it is debatable whether the trajectory of rock and roll
would be much the same without Reed, it is very clear that Pat Telfer
and his crew would not.
The first release from the “seven to ten musicians” that make up Old Mate, ‘It Is What It Is’ succeeds in recasting obvious (but impeccable) references over eight tracks. Opening with the burlesque – Bad Seeds swagger of the slow burning Medicine Man, the album lurches from melancholy singalong (Requesting Permission) to wistful drunk stumbling (February) through macabre funk (Stressin’).
Although displaying no shortage of individual character, for my money, the best tracks are those in which Old Mate has worn its influences most clearly on its sleeve. On the irresistibly chunky twang of Something, Old Mate nail the cool drawl and laconic riffage. On Truth Boy, the band captures the Velvet’s hypnotic squall to a tee.
RIP Lou." - City & Sound
"Old Mate is the solo project
from Pat Telfer of Bitch Prefect, which has, as it usually does round
these parts, transmogrified into a band of regular Australian kickabouts
featuring members from Peak Twins and Wireheads. Telfer, originally from
Adelaide is now mainly based in Melbourne and has just released It
Is What It Is, his debut album following a self produced EP and 7” over
the past two years.
The album is a compilation of honest admissions regarding broken relationships, broken hearts, drinking, being drunk and feeling uncomfortable by an acute awareness of the mundane difficulties of reality.
Opening track ‘Medicine Man’ a 10min reverb drenched rolling slow jam, reminiscent of early Black Lips circa ’04-’05, assumedly about being the man with all the drugs you could need but may not necessarily be able to procure.
Scratchy, grimy guitar work with deep percussive rhythms and beautiful, catchy lighthearted synth, glock and sax (at times) layered above it all, an aspect of the music that really diversifies and breaks the drone of its core.
This shines through particularly in the track ‘Stressin’.
‘Him’ is a Brian Jonestown-esque circular trawl through weary mud-caked paths, complimented by buzzing, vibrato sodden delay, whizzes, whooshes and saxophone. The song closes out on a bare, honest acknowledgement of pointlessness.
A personal favourite from the album is the closing track ‘Truth Boy’. Its lo-fi, continuous drum splash and rolling bass rhythms combined with the repetitive phrasing of the lyrics make it a catchy madcap ramble, not to mention the myriad of other instruments that fill out the rest of the song including a piercing and anxiety inducing whistle or recorder of some description.
All the songs have a distinctly Australian story-to-be-told song writing inclination evident in countless classic Aussie singer/songwriters. This is a sentiment shared, and most eloquently expressed in the simple truth of the albums title It is what it is.
This album is a fine collection of honest unembellished songs about fears and difficulties we all experience being a 20-something year old person living in uncomfortable forbearance with the tumult of reality." - Throwing Frisbees
"The debut album from Pat
Telfer of Bitch Prefect, recording as Old Mate, is titled It Is What It
Is. And if one plays with the title to turn it into a question, it
provides a nice segue into the quality of the album. That is, what
is It Is What It Is like? The answer for me is that it is an
strikingly good record. Telfer doesn't pretend to choose a
sub-genre of indie rock, resulting in an appealing variety of
music. And each song makes a convincing case for your
attention. The opening track "Medicine Man" is a bluesy roadhouse
jam that sprawls for ten minutes -- and doesn't feel one second too
long. "Requesting Permission" (stream below) is a relaxed guitar
pop tune, with Pat's southern Australian drawl supported by barely-there
female background vocals and an organ. line. "Something" is an
urgent, chugging track that brings to mind Jonathan Richman and the
Modern Lovers. Melancholy singer-songwriter sensibility infuses
the sparsely adorned "February".
The second half of the album kicks-off with "Stressin" (video below), which is a somewhat jittery instrumental for 2:45, before the simple admonition that "Sally's stressin". Driven by Telfer's baritone, the following "Know What He Wants" has a vibe that hints at Nick Cave or the Velvet Underground. Like a ray of light, "Him" begins with a chorus of female and male voices, and continues the enigmatic refrain accompanied predominantly by a bass guitar, drum and occasional guitar strokes. The album ends with "Truth Boy". a strutting post-punk gem that builds and then recedes with deserved confidence.
That's it. Eight tracks, but a fair measure of running time. The tone is a bit sinister and decadent, owing only partially to Telfer's voice and the arrangements. The true skeleton of this record is astute songwriting. Telfer doesn't hit you in the head; he just lets the words and atmosphere seep into your skin. Lay out some cash for this album, and you'll be richer for it.
Originally a solo project, Telfer now relies on a group of 7-10 musicians to flesh out Old Mate. It is a credit to Telfer's vision and the players' discipline that the songs are focused and efficient, with no hint of competition for time or attention. It Is What It Is is out now via French label SDZ Records." - When you motor away
night, I copped a lift, one of life’s simple pleasures. There isn’t
anything better than thinking you’re going to have to trek it, and then
someone lets you hop in the car and turn an hour trip of nail-biting
depression into 15 minutes of jovial, four-wheeled harmony. Whilst in
said car, I chucked on a song by Bitch Prefect, the excellent “Bad
Decisions”. And the car fell silent. But it wasn’t an awkward, painful
silence. It was a silence in which a simple song was appreciated in
simple silence. That’s the best thing about basic music. There’s no
expectation, no need to catapult and overwhelm everything. Whilst a
wailing guitar solo and banshee cries can be exhilarating, sometimes all
you need is a broken guitar, and an equally broken soul to hush you.
Fuck love, the sobs of a shattered soul are way more realistic.
That’s what you’re getting on Old Mate’s debut LP. It’s the solo project from Pat Telfer, a member of the aforementioned Bitch Prefect. But whilst Bitch Prefect almost confine themselves to scratchy, de-tuned musings, Old Mate is more diverse in the offerings, the seafood platter to BP’s BBQ. Also, whereas Bitch Prefect like to keep things at least a little upbeat, and inject some morbid humour, Telfer is as depressed as they come. Someone, give the guy a hug.
Now, that might sound a little forward. I mean, I don’t know the guy. How can I make assumptions about his life, and about what he’s trying to say? Mr. Telfer could be a bounding lil’ ball of energy for all I know. But the Adelaide aesthetic is there, and it sings loudly, especially in the lyrics. On “February'”, Telfer opens up, “Home’s where I’ll be, if you’re not next to me. I’ll stop myself from drinking beer. I’m holding in my tears…I’m lonely, but only without you”, as miserable, rain-soaked cowboy strums resound with funeral-esque finality.
And then there’s “Requesting Permission”, which has to be one of the finest songs released from a purely Australian perspective. It showcases Telfer as a modern day Paul Kelly, a poet with a guitar, a knack for putting the guilt in our throats, and creating a chokehold of emotions. “Every day I go away, and I wish that I could stay. Every now and then, I find that I’m going out of my mind”, points to a guy who’s tearing his hair out, and knows that he’ll never find a solution. He’s stuck in a rut, a trap of his own creation, and getting out of there is going to be harder than breaking Han Solo out of Jabba’s Palace. Throw that curveball of truth next to a brilliantly simple guitar solo, an alien whistle and more wistful regret than that shot of Patrick Swayze looking out at the Byron Bay surf in Point Break.
There are a few kinks to be worked through on the album however, namely the constant changing of tones. Although that does make for a constantly evolving record, it makes things messier than the results of giving a 2 year old a week-old, unrefrigerated chilli con carne. Don’t get me wrong, this album has more heart and originality packed into it than the majority of records, but there’s a bit of a lack of clarity and cohesiveness to the middle of the record.
However, maybe that’s the point. This isn’t a professional record. Rick Rubin didn’t twist knobs with his tentacle beard, and there wasn’t a guest verse from A$AP Rocky. It’s a vibrant mix of noise, sadness, confusion, and self-defeatism. There is so much going on in Pat Telfer’s brain, and the bloke has condensed it into something that reeks of originality. He’s taken sadness, something that at this point seems passe, and he’s made it interesting and gut-wrenching again. Like a car-lift, Old Mate is a simple pleasures that releases a lot of pain and stress. Who needs shit like Morrissey or Robert Smith when you’ve got Old Mate?" - Soundly Sounds
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