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Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice Are a Forward-Thinking Powerhouse on ‘Remember the Future? Vol. 2 & 1’

Alivia Lester* (@ALIVIAAART)

Ever since Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice first appeared on the local scene back in 2018, the band – which serves as something of a supergroup of sorts comprising musicians from Melbourne and Perth – has felt like a prolific music-making machine. With one full-length and a handful of EPs to their name already, it’s almost felt impossible to turn your back without more of their music arriving in that time.

Of course, it was last year that resulted in one of the group’s most prolific periods to date. While the end of 2019 brought with it their Scomo Goes to Hawaii EP (followed by the fittingly-titled While Aus Burns almost a year later), it was their four-track EP Remember the Future? Vol. 1 that helped fans get through a difficult year. With tracks like “Super Speedy Zippy Whipper”, the EP was an 11-minute burst of energetic alt-rock that didn’t feel anywhere long enough for diehard fans. Now though, Dr Sure’s second album helps provide that musical closure we’ve been needing.

Officially released today via Marthouse Records, Remember the Future? Vol. 2 & 1 – like its name suggests – effectively brings it all full-circle, opening with the six new tracks that comprise Vol. 2 before closing by compiling the first four tracks from Vol. 1. Confused? Well, there’s really no need to be if you simply view the EP as a tasting platter of the final product.

With the whole record initially envisioned as a singular product, its creation was indeed marred by the events of the last year, with Vol. 1 recorded in January of 2020, and Vol. 2 recorded in May of this year. Despite the 15 months between sessions, its production feels seamless, with each half easily making the listener believe they were recorded side-by-side each other.

But what’s more isn’t the fact that Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice were able to lock away a full record against the backdrop of a global pandemic, but they were able to lock away a stunning record. Opening with previous single “Infinite Growth”, the album feels self-assured and confident, with synthy post-punk instrumentation providing a powerful backdrop against lyrics which sees frontman Dougal Shaw attempting to reframe the capitalist language.

“It’s this idea that they’ll always talk about perpetual growth for things like profit margins and GDP and balance sheets and all these made-up human concepts – it’s trying to redirect that same energy into tangible important shit like the coral reef or sacred trees,” Shaw told Forte Mag earlier this year.

“I wanted it to be hopeful so even though a lot of that is pretty upsetting, it’s more of a rallying call like together we can create a new dream.”

It’s this same sort of progressive thinking, wrapped up in intellectual, catchy, and often tongue-in-cheek lyrics, that permeates the entirety of the record. While slick guitarwork kicks off both “I Don’t Know What to Believe” and “Blood Money” (titles which undoubtedly feel resonant to countless listeners), it’s latest single “How Can Anybody Be Sober These Days?” which asks the question on all of our lips and serves as a highlight of Vol. 2.

Similarly written prior to the pandemic, the track captures the group’s unbridled energy and frenetic guitarwork (comparisons to King Gizz could be made, but Dr Sure’s are far from derivative) as it focuses on answering the “legitimate question about coping with living in a time when everything seems to be falling apart around us”. Equal parts quirky, cathartic, and unifying, it deserves to be remembered as one of the year’s greatest (and most potent) tracks.

As Vol. 1 rounds things out, the likes of “Super Speedy Zippy Whipper” and “Temperature Talk” are undoubtedly worth the price of admission alone, once again proving that Dr Sure are a band with something to say, and the ability to convey it effectively.

Overall though, Remember the Future? Vol. 2 & 1 is a masterful progression of one of the more unassuming groups on the local Melbourne scene. Equal parts captivating, immersive, and – most importantly – relevant, it’s a record which sees Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice at their very best.

Of course, some might posit that the record didn’t need to be a full length, and that both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 could suffice as standalone EPs, but the truth is that it needs to be listened to as a cohesive body of work for its message to truly get across, and for its effectiveness to truly be felt.

Undoubtedly though, it’s a stellar showcase of where Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice have come from across the last year, while providing listeners a solid idea of just where they’re going next. If you’re a fan of rock-driven post-punk with an intellectual edge, Remember the Future? Vol. 2 & 1 might be what you’re after. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice’s Remember the Future? Vol. 2 & 1 is out now via Marthouse Records.