Words by Carly Gibbs
“Newtown’s shittest band” Scabz are back to release their debut album ‘Pressure’ this Friday the 27th of November. Rule number one; don’t believe everything you read because if you’ve heard any of their previous releases then you’ll know that this self-proclaimed title is the epitome of fake news and that the band are actually really fucking fantastic! This 10-track, red hot, debut album is no different.
‘Pressure’ opens to an atmospheric use of a simplified bassline, reverberating guitars and murmured lyrics in Used which builds in intensity with line “I’m sick of all these men, telling me how to use my body”, expressing the thoughts of at least 50% of the population. It moves onto the title track which switches nicely between verses of prose and a hooky chorus.
Guess Who is the third track which you may have already heard as it was the first single released from ‘Pressure’. It features Vuli from True Vibenation on saxophone and is a super fun, up tempo Aussie punk banger. The way Siobhan delivers the intonation on “I’m a Copper” is brilliant! It’s so uniquely Australian injected with that larrikin, smart arse attitude and it makes me giggle with a sense of camaraderie.
The observation on Heart of Nothing is the social media façade that the user is portraying. An outwardly happy and content version of themselves but inwardly vacuous and miserable. “Posting piccies of my symbols of wealth, look at all the good fortune that I’ve been dealt, but I can’t hold a conversation without it ending in complaining…….to the heart, to the heart of nothing.”
A small intermission in the form of Covid I Reckon chops it up with some Covid catchphrases over the top of a backing track of pub noises and a chill little riff and percussion. A perfect interlude to showcase the bands sense of humour and Siobhan’s delivery, once again, is so on point.
Rolling on from Covid I Reckon is Just at the Pub (Gossin’ with the gals) which is legit how I am going to answer anyone who asks “where are ya?” from now on. The repetition of the chorus makes this track a solid earworm that I’ve been walking around singing for days.
Kick Ons! One hot minute of humorous kick on content that has been likened to Aussie punk royalty Frenzal Rhomb and I tend to agree.
Who else has been revelling in the Double Dole that was dished out as part of old Scotty From Marketing’s plan to keep us all afloat during this pandemic? Scabz have been feeling flush with this extra cash injection, buying up fancy blenders, big bags of weed and platters of sashimi. Clearly though, the band are being facetious on this track with lyrics boasting being able to pay the rent and still have money left over, go to a dentist who is not an apprentice and similar shouts echoing the real-life struggle of those who normally live on or below the poverty line.
Vegan Magnum. One minute twenty-seven seconds of pure, cruelty-free indulgence. I too, want to get high and eat a vegan magnum.
The closing track and things take a turn into darker territory with the recitation of parts of Julia Gillard’s Misogyny Speech over an abrasive musical backdrop. Even though a lot of the content on this album touches on serious issues, it is delivered in a humorous and light way. On this final track, Siobhan screams “Not now, not ever!” which feels serious and has the aggression turned up, maybe in order to leave the listener in a state of reflection and contemplation about the messages that were cleverly dispatched across ‘Pressure’.
Punk has historically been chocked full with socio-political commentary and this is no different. It isn’t delivered with as much venom as some of their punk contemporaries but topics such as body image, socio-economics and mental health issues are peppered throughout. Balance that out with that self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek humour that Scabz are so good at and you’ve got an album that will, no doubt, be highly revered by many. Scabz are a dominant, progressive, shenanigan infused voice of a sunburnt punk nation and they are definitely worth your time.
‘Pressure’ is out Friday 27th November.
With thanks to Good Intent