Note: This piece first appeared in Australian Guitar #135. Subscribe to our print edition here!
In one storied year of hard‐nosed hustling, Press Club have vaulted from virtual nobodies to veritable superstars of the Australian rock scene. Driving their rise is a piquant brew of pummelling drums, belting vocals and layer upon layer of stiff and sizzling guitars.
They’re staunchly DIY – and, through the haze of their surge into the spotlight, remain wholly independent – but at their core lies a group of inordinately talented creatives. Lead shredhead Greg Rietwyk is a bonafide wizard behind the mixing desk – perhaps literally, since the Melbourne foursome revel in a paradoxical punk‐rock sweet spot where they’re at once gruff and scuzzy and dive‐bar dirty, yet sound clean and crisp and damn near angelic.
Coming just a year after their breakout opus Late Teens, LP2 continues the trajectory it established with a walloping rollercoaster ride of grungy teen‐angst anthems and searing punk‐pop bangers. And where parts of Late Teens showed a band still teething in their chemistry, Wasted Energy is forcibly tight, viciously dynamic and endlessly compelling from Rietwyk’s first thrashing Telecaster jut to frontwoman Natalie Foster’s last dry, battered howl.
However slight a step forward it is for their sound, Wasted Energy shines because it does what Late Teens succeeded at with just that little bit more oomph – it’s more melodic, more stimulating, more aggressive and more thoughtfully produced; a companion piece that trounces on its companion.
“Get Better” sees the band play with shifting tempos and see‐sawing velocities with supernatural smoothness. “Dead Or Dying” swells and swells until it crashes beautifully into itself. “Same Mistakes” shows a brief moment of restraint for Press Club, before ending the record on a destructively huge note in “Twenty‐Three”. All the while maintaining a cohesion that makes the album fly past, each track on Wasted Energy offers a new hint of stylistic excitement.
Longer cuts often see short and sharp quips bleed into more cerebral, introspective hinges of imagination, which serve to broaden the soundscapes beyond the usual flurry of distortion and drum fills.
Though it’s certainly a full‐band effort, each member shining in their own right while slicking their colours onto a much bigger, more polychromatic painting, the biggest jaw‐dropper on show is the musical chemistry between Foster and Rietwyk. Equally bright and biting, Foster’s vocal works like an instrument that ducks and dives around Rietwyk’s punky shredding.
Review by Matt Doria.