Punk will never die. Not with bands like Melbourne’s Gut Health hanging around anyway.
While the six-piece outfit’s brand of punk isn’t always necessarily the screaming, sardonic stuff synonymous with the genre, it can often be cheeky, upbeat, even a little poppy. It’s classic punk with modern invention, in other words.
Their latest single, “Juvenile Retention”, carries over their synth-driven, drum-powered sound and, like the name suggests, is about those dreaded momentary flashbacks to times where instant gratification became the backbone of our coming-of-age years.
There’s a subtle element of Blondie to the band, no doubt a result of lead singer Athena Uh Oh’s playful vocals that intonate words with effortless vigour and expression. “Find juvenile retention,” Athena’s voice commands over quick-fingered guitar flourishes and incessantly catchy art-pop chords. Everything here is jittery and jumpy, and better for it.
“I like using the profound impact of power and energy exchange on oneself in my songwriting – moving and unmoving, soft versus stiff, sadism and softness,” Athena says.
The track is the band’s third impressive release this year, rounding out a triad of previous singles including the catchy “The Recipe” and more melodic “Uh Oh”. They’ll all be shared together on an upcoming 7” titled Gut Health Singles ‘23.
You can watch the accompanying video to “Juvenile Retention”, which, unsurprisingly, plays like a red-washed, shaky-visioned nightmare – fitting for a track about the uncomfortable anxiety that comes with remembering things you’d rather forget.
If 2023 was a breakout year for Gut Health – they showcased their music at both BIGSOUND and SXSW Sydney – 2024 looks like it’s going to be even bigger. Alongside Pond, they’ll support the one and only Queens of the Stone Age on their Australian tour in February. For a band that’s previously shared stages with Otoboke Beaver, The Black Lips, Mudhoney and many more, they should take the big opportunity in their stride.
Gut Health’s “Juvenile Retention” is out now. Gut Health Singles ’23 is out Friday, November 24th via Marthouse Records (pre-order here).