ALBUM REVIEW: Press Club – Wasted Energy
Following up from the acclaimed (and fantastic) Late Teens would be a struggle for most bands, but Melbourne’s Press Club are not most bands. This is a band with an incredible level of output and this second album comes almost exactly a year after their debut was released, and any worries that Wasted Energy has been rushed through are soon forgotten as the album spits hit after hit out at a ferocious pace.
Press Club are a band full of exceptional musicians, which allows them to create an instantly recognisable sound both with and without vocals. Separate Houses opens the album with intensity and is the perfect intro to a record which develops in both strength and emotion throughout. The vocal variety switches between almost saccharine sweetness and the gritty emotion of all the best modern punk. Behind this hides musicianship full of little intricacies to discover with every listen, there are tiny changes in guitar tone and moments of feedback which playfully combine with bass rumbles and ever changing drum beats. Press Club continue their impeccable record of writing soaring choruses, which seem to develop naturally within the musicianship.
The pace that these twelve tracks move between each other is enough to leave listeners breathless, and as the first half of the album passes in the blink of an eye there is a perfectly placed moment to reflect in the shape of Obsessing. This also allows for the most delicate vocal moment in the entire release, which perfectly fits with the emotionally open lyrics. There are examples throughout this LP where vocals take the full focus, but with a vocal range that moves between the clean and emotively gnarled on a knife edge this is hardly a surprise. The range is perfect for the song writing, which encapsulates very strong emotion and infectious choruses – this is certainly an album which will make you feel something.
Press Club are far from a singer and a backing band, the musicianship at times feels like a tour of alternative music. Recent single Get Better has an almost all encompassing punk influence, with an opening guitar part which nods towards The Undertones and The Clash, a bass line which is pure Epifat era punkrock, vocals which move between the confrontation of The Coathangers and the pure infectious pop of Blondie, and drums which dictate the pace of the entire song. Following effortlessly, Behave has a level of ferocity which really makes it stand out amongst these impressive songs. The vintage post-punk guitars create the perfect backing for a haunting chorus and as the bass and heavy cymbals stack up, the Stooges-esque distorted guitar solo creates one of our favourite moments within this album.
Lyrically this is somewhat of a departure from the band’s debut, the introspective songwriting develops the kind of bond you would have listening to a secret. The word combinations are very natural and feelings are raw and completely relatable. There is a clever use of everyday situations to normalise the hardest hitting subjects, I’m In Hell covers mental health and lost love with incredible honesty and consideration. This is extenuated with another incredible combination of vocals and musicianship, which takes in the darkness of Alkaline Trio and Creeper and combines it with a huge chorus.
The breathless finale Twenty Three seems to take the ingredients from the eleven previous songs and combine them into a heady combination of raw emotion, huge choruses and toe tapping musicianship. It plays almost like a highlight reel of the release, making it the perfect way to end an album which demonstrates both musical and emotional maturity throughout. This is band who have completely averted the tricky second album and instead have created an album with purpose and prowess. They have also avoided the pop-punk tradition of switching to an American accent, and the sense of Australian colloquialism adds just the right amount of sunshine to an album which already has the haze of a warm summer’s day.
With a release like this Press Club will continue to grow, so you should probably catch them live now whilst you still can.
Standout Tracks: Get Better, Behave, I’m In Hell
For Fans Of: Bad Religion, Mika Miko, Orchards
Written by: Ben Adsett