Review: Ben Connolly
Brisbane band Blame Ringo is a band steeped in its own curio past, to the point of it almost being written off as a comic band. The name itself, and the mileage the group got over the official rebuke from Ringo Starr over its previous name, set it up early on as a tongue-in-cheek piss-take. They followed that through with curious film clip for single “Garble Arch” off its first long player – which became a bona fide Youtube viral phenomena – and then a cute tour concept of playing in laundromats; an audience would be forgiven for thinking this band’s interest was firmly in taking the mickey, rather than solid songwriting. And there would be nothing wrong with that; there are plenty of decent and long-lived acts in this land and abroad who could stake their claim firmly in piss-takery, whilst still holding credible assertions of musicianship (think The Fauves, TISM or, further afield, The Duckworth Lewis Method).
To write Blame Ringo off thus, however, would be foolish and would take only half of the story into account. “In A Hurricane” is the second single off their second album, Too Strange For Avery, and it’s an absolute cracker of a tune. The music kicks in at once, with just a brief intro, as if the listener had wandered into the room a couple of minutes too late. You’re playing catch up from the get-go and Jessiah Cocks’ looping bass line leaves little room respite as it plunders its way through the track, apart from the curling middle eight where the song drops dramatically. There’s a freewheeling ingratiating pop feel to the track, which is immediately infectious, with the concise chorus (“Singing my song in a hurricane”) entering early and being repeated throughout. This is pure sunshine on tape and it worms its way quickly into your head and refuses to budge… sometimes for days on end.
The b-side, “Midnight To Twilight”, is almost completely inverted from the high energy of its reverse. A slight acoustic number, it offers Jessiah a chance on lead vocals and gives an insight into the ridiculous depth of a band with three solid singer-songwriters at the helm. Both tracks convey an airiness in the mix consistent with what is becoming producer Matt Redlich’s calling card – being able to deal with multiple converging soundscapes throughout a tune, but allowing each a moment to shine through without it becoming cluttered. It’s a gilt-edged sound which is swiftly becoming the new striped sunlight sound of Brisbane, lead by label Mucho Bravado (Hungry Kids of Hungary, Ball Park Music, Charlie Mayfair). For Blame Ringo, it adds necessary light to its tracks and allows the listener to see past the gimmicks and take this band for what it is: a great summery pop vehicle with many roads yet to travel. The album, Too Strange For Avery, is out in October and the band will tour in support of it in November.
Review: Ben Connolly