Earlier this week, Josh Morris of The Electorate spoke about their song “A Good Man”, and noted how a pivotal moment in the band’s history occurred when they witnessed Nirvana performing live in Sydney in 1992.
For most fans in attendance, such an event was a life-changing experience which – much like the Sex Pistols’ iconic Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall performance of 1976 – inspired countless bands to form in its aftermath. The Electorate cite the performance, along with the meaning behind the music, as what inspired a complete change in their trajectory. Close to 30 years later, hearing the group’s debut album is enough to serve as a similarly life-changing event for nascent musicians.
Of course, a bit of background is required from the outset. For those involved in the Aussie music scene at the time, they would possibly remember members of The Electorate from their time spent in The Templebears. With a few releases to their name, the group soon split, with its members going on to perform with a number of other bands over the years, including Big Heavy Stuff, The Apartments, Knievel, Atticus, Reality Instructors, and Imperial Broads.
A reunion occurred in 2010, and following more shows, 2019 brought with it the end of The Templebears, and from the ashes rose the musical phoenix now known as The Electorate. Armed with an array of tracks, the trio – made up of Nick Kennedy, Eliot Fish, and Morris – began to share singles earlier this year in anticipation of their finally-completed debut album, You Don’t Have Time To Stay Lost, which arrived in late September.
Ultimately, the anticipation paid off, and the wait was more than worth it, with The Electorate delivering arguably one of the finest albums of 2020, and one of the strongest debuts to date.
Immediately kicking off with the slow-burning (and aptly-titled) “Number 1”, it’s impossible not to be enthralled by the world which The Electorate have created. Whether it be by the immersive instrumentation, or the mesmerising if plaintive line, “I can’t wait until I’m an old man, sitting in my car, driving around with my hat on“.
However, the group don’t peak early. Rather, they slowly but surely cover vital ground throughout the 49-minute album, with genres shifting frequently, but not forcibly, as they allow the music to slowly show what it is they’re made of.
While the likes of “Peanut Butter Jars” serving as something of an initially jarring (no pun intended) inclusion due to its upbeat beginning, it soon serves as a testament to their versatility, effortlessly bringing in the rhythmic rock sound they made a name for themselves with many years ago.
As the record continues, it’s a kaleidoscopic example of the members’ musical DNA, showcasing exuberant rock numbers that feel like they’re taken from the golden age of ’90s indie-rock (a lyrical Built To Spill reference seems to confirm such a notion), before showing off ’60s-influenced songwriting, and then backing it up with grungy instrumentals, ambient passages, and menacing interplays between guitar, bass, and drums that are as moving as they are forceful.
From a lyrical point of view, it’s impossible not to highlight the importance of the aforementioned “A Good Man”, which serves as a response to widespread sexism and privilege throughout the world. Paired with a clip from ARIA Award-winning director Suziie Wang, it deserves to be listed as one of the most vital songs to come out of the industry this year.
You Don’t Have Time To Stay Lost is, at its core, equal parts furious and comforting, and relevant and nostalgic, but never once taking the time to stagnate. It moves forward leaps and bounds with each and every bar, and leaves the listener questioning what might come next. You’ll never truly know, but you’re always surprised, and forever grateful.
The Electorate have created an exceptional album by way of their long-awaited debut. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another few decades for a follow-up.
The Electorate’s You Don’t Have Time To Stay Lost is available now via the group’s Bandcamp. From 5pm AEST on Friday, October 2nd, Bandcamp are ensuring all proceeds go directly to artists for 24 hours.