Bleeding Knees Club : Nothing To Do
In the debut jaunt from Gold Coast indie kids Bleeding Knees Club, the highly anticipated full-length release from the denim cut-offs, bomber jacket toting duo has you ready to revisit an endless summer of teen girls and surf with its 12 tracks of chiming garage pop anthems. The latest chapter in the adventure of drummer and vocalist Alex Wall and guitarist Jordan Malene since the surprise success of last year’s EP Virginity, their debut album Nothing To Do is a fitting and welcome follow-on from a year of serious touring, radio hit singles, swooning fans and world domination.
Hitting a New York studio in between back to back live gigs, the duo have managed to produce a cleaner and more refined offering of their current bag of tricks, including a newer version of last year’s EP favourite Teenage Girls. It’s perhaps no wonder when you have the production capabilities of Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion/Blood Orange), as well as mixing credit from Dan Grech (The Vaccines) on board to help create a debut that can hold its own amongst a blizzard of hype for a band that has been receiving attention from the likes of NME and Rolling Stone for the better part of a year. What has resulted is somewhere between '50s ‘doo-wop’ pastiche and a homage to girl bands of the '60s, by which Wall and Malene are so heavily influenced. It’s an impressive ode to a bygone era, and the Bleeding Knees boys have done well to recreate a forgotten sound for a new generation of skater punks and teen slackers. From its kicker opening track Teenage Girls, to the honeyed female vocal harmonies in Girls Can Do Anything, and spoken introduction to Lipstick (about hanging out with a girl called Betty by the school’s bleachers), the concept behind the band’s approach is simple, yet effective in capturing the essence of what was once pioneering rock and roll.
Throw this together with tracks like Problem Child, Hate Me and Brain Waves and it’s all three-chord punk riffs from here, which charge the album through to the last and best three tracks; Who Are We, Same Game and title track Nothing To Do. With the ‘60s punk influence rife throughout these numbers, and the delightful addition of some bells to the mix, the more frantic skater-punk sensibilities on the album add texture and a modern twist to the album that saves it from becoming a clichéd and shallow effort that borders on the thought, ‘It’s been done’.
At times, the lyrical content and overarching themes of Nothing To Do fall short of engaging and hinder on predictable; stories of kissing girls, holding hands, getting high and bumming around are fun for a few tracks, but then just gets stale. There are also points throughout the length of the album when it’s difficult not to think you may have heard the riff before, perhaps just a key higher. In another vein, it is somewhat refreshing for a band to embody such a simplistic and not-too-serious attitude to their music – they just want to have fun after all. The Bleeding Knees Club boys are simply making the soundtrack to their youth, which let’s face it, does involve girls, summer romance, experimenting with mind-altering substances, and a desire to ‘stick it to the man’. Nothing To Do is just a party, not goddamn rocket science.
BY TEGAN BUTLER
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