Methyl Ethel
Methyl Ethel

The Bird

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Seems Methyl Ethel have a devoted fan base in Perth and that all of them and then some were packed like sardines into The Bird on Saturday night to hear their new album, played in its entirety. Despite the discomfort of standing uncomfortably close to strangers I enjoyed the music to the extent where this didn’t really matter, I even had a little bit of a dance as they pumped out their various mix of synth pad sounds, distorted and filtered guitar, sometimes hypnotically rhythmic, sometimes upbeat as all get out, often dark and murky in an ‘80s-esque smooth kind of way.

Their radio friendly single, Rogues, the third track on the album, sounds very much like a channelling of all that is glorious about Stevie Nicks. This is the first song of theirs that I heard and that got me interested in this band, but they have far more going on than this sound alone, and their overall sound in the flesh felt like an amorphous and flexible thing, at times incredibly funky, sometimes feeling a little like Paul Simon’s band and singers from Graceland fronted by Prince had snuck their way subtly into the music we were hearing, living somewhere in the back of the lead singers mind, mixed in perfectly with all of the other things circling around in there.

On top of obvious influences like The Triffids and The Go Betweens, and maybe even a hint of Robert Smith, Methyl Ethel has definitely got, it would seem, the ability to channel their influences into a sound that feels at once comfortably familiar but also very much like a new thing, an extension on the past rather than a rehash.

There was a fascinating moment where lead singer Jake Webb played a song to a specific girl in the room, “…the girl from Melville Street is here, so this can be for her.” He then literally sang about meeting this girl, an undeniable chemistry and going by Melville Street just in case he bumped into her.

To me, this band is a one hundred percent must see live act. Next time they’re playing  you should be there, and you should also buy their album, Oh Inhuman Spectacle, because it was a beautiful thing to witness and I will be flooding my home with it as soon as I can.