Tasmania. Or Lutruwita, in the Aboriginal language.
Australia’s only island state whose entire population is approx. 10% of the Greater Sydney area. Home to the in(famous) Tasmanian devil, the controversial MONA museum, and a rather grim period in British/Australian history. But what else do we know about it?
It turns out there’s a vibrant and slightly underestimated music scene with heaps of promising bands in Tasmania. SLOW DOWN SONIC is one of them. And they’ve just released a new catchy single.
PART 128 OF “AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN?” A RANDOM COLLECTION OF UNKNOWINGLY OBVIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE
If you’re an emerging act, how much music can you potentially drop in a year? Two, maybe three singles if you’ve built a decent fan base locally. It gets more complicated, though, if you’re from “the little island down under”, separated by 240 kilometres from mainland Australia. Gig opportunities are limited, and releasing music is not free.
But SLOW DOWN SONIC seem to defy that scenario. In 2022 alone, they’ve dropped three singles (including the new one) and an EP called Depths. And they’re not slowing down – another EP is on the way.
That tells me there’s a real demand for punk rock music Down Under. So it’s probably the perfect time to start following this fresh new Tassie band.
SLOW DOWN SONIC haven’t been around for that long. They started dropping music officially on streaming platforms only in May this year.
Two lifelong friends, Alex Britton (on guitar) and Alex Wadley (on bass and vocals), plus drummer Daniel Burling are the current squad members. Heartfelt, anthemic punk rock is their signature sound. And judging by the footage from their socials, they pack a real punch at live gigs.
Aussie punk/rock legends Violent Soho, Slowly Slowly, Bodyjar or Tasmania’s own Luca Brasi are among the emerging band’s fairly obvious influences. Fans of the Swedish outfit Millencolin, and American rockers Jimmy Eat World will also be drawn to SLOW DOWN SONIC.
To me, three things stand out in the Tassie group’s music right away: their raw energy and crafting uncomplicated, melodic tracks with catchy lyrics. To be honest, their songs released so far are ready for festival sing-alongs and could easily appeal to all kinds of audiences.
With a relatively short career, how do they achieve that?
“There’s no real thought process to how a song is created; it’s just pick up a guitar, play, and see what happens. Sometimes, I’ll try different tunings to spark inspiration, and in this case, it is mainly in standard with the A string tuned up to add a different element“, sums up Alex Wadley, the songwriter in SLOW DOWN SONIC.
There’s really no need to have an elaborate creative process if the result speaks for itself. And the Tassie trio seem to have nailed that delivery part already.
That’s also the case with the latest single, “Merry Go Round”, mastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer William Bowden (King Willy Sound) and mixed by one of Tassie’s most promising up-and-coming producers Douglas Briton. It’s the first release from the band’s upcoming EP, Heights.
SLOW DOWN SONIC claim they “have really upped [their] game on this one”, making it “heavier, catchier, better”. Yep. That confident attitude definitely comes across in this new song, from the very first note.
A melodic guitar hook kicks off the track. And you get the lyrical essence of “Merry Go Round” immediately:
“We gotta get our shit together
We gotta face the past before we go round
Down, baby, we drown.”
After that, SLOW DOWN SONIC go straight for those wild mosh pit/sticky floors/headbanging vibes.
And there’s no stopping for the next three minutes because of how the song is built. There’s only one extended verse (or two consecutive short ones?). As the singer explains, “The song was written instrumentally at first, with the central idea for the chorus vocals popping into my head and then evolving from there.” As a result, you barely get to catch your breath trying to keep up with the tempo.
Approximately 2 minutes into the song, another surprise is added. A heavier vocal delivery will hit you with a plea to “drown with me”. And my favourite moment is probably towards the end when that commanding request is mixed with melodic chanting of “we’re running round in circles”. This interesting vocal contrast creates a frenzy effect, which will make you wanna put the track on repeat. (Speaking of running in circles, hey?)
Lyrically, “Merry Go Round” is a nod to the never-ending dilemma between responsibility vs self-indulgence and having to constantly weigh your wants vs needs. It stems from our ever-self-absorbed and social media-addicted society. We’re “selfishly worry-free, (…) our own worst enemy” following “US trends / Insta friends”, as per the song’s lyrics. It’s a pretty relatable topic, which will surely win over new followers for the band.
In their press release, SLOW DOWN SONIC stated they were “looking to keep the momentum up with a heap of tracks in the future”. If they follow up with more catchy singles, like “Merry Go Round”, they should have no problems whatsoever achieving that objective.
I’d also be worried if I was Luca Brasi. It looks like there’s a serious new contender in the Tassie punk rock scene.
So if you’re into the early 2000s punk nostalgia, definitely treat yourself to this banger.
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