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First Listen: The Peep Tempel ‘Joy’

Vocalist/guitarist Blake Scott also takes us on a track-by-track of the Melbourne trio’s third album.

Melbourne trio The Peep Tempel are set to release their third album Joy, the follow-up to 2014’s Tales, on October 14th.

Joy reignites the band’s distinct drawl, growling and fist-waved plainspoken complaint spun through colloquial larrikinism and picture-book pub-punk storytelling. Yet, with longer studio sessions booked, the band also enjoyed what they describe as a “definite indulgence”, leading to left-field experiments ranging from organs to car engines.

Thematically, it’s equally varied. Snapshots of everyday life butt heads with more straight-shot, politically-ignited rhetoric, as with fiery first single “Rayguns”. At the other end of Joy‘s wide-spread spectrum, minimalism lounge-bar ballad “Go Slow” compliments the sparse backdrop with throaty, targeted taunts, taking a far more personal slant to the band’s usual tact.

Joy is officially out October 14th via Wing Sing, and available to stream in full below. Peep Tempel vocalist/guitarist Blake Scott has also been kind enough to compile a track-by-track breakdown of the album, covering the tales and themes behind each song.

All words below by Blake Scott.

“‘Kalgoorlie’ was the last song we recorded for Joy. We were all very relaxed, and just cut loose. It was our farewell to the studio and the environment that we had created over the previous 10 days. There was an incredible Elka X-705 synth/organ in the studio. We all jumped on it for this one. One of us would mash the keys while the others pulled the stops and pressed buttons. It was a nice way to finish the session. This track was originally an instrumental, though we decided to run a vocal, and rehashed some old lyrics. It comes across as a nasty one, though lyrically, it’s tongue in cheek. Basically, a bunch of clichés about Kalgoorlie and life as a hard drinking miner.”

“An impromptu wedding set on a dinghy. “Totality” is an absurdist rom com. It is paranoid and whimsical, though for this moment in time our lovers are on the path to completion. The author is urgent and determined. Not letting the holes in the bottom of the boat discourage, he sets out to sea with his lover Ange and his ex-roommate and celebrant, William. As with many a romance, tragedy lurks. If they are bound for the deep blue, they go there in union. Not so cool for old William, who’ll spend his demise as the uncomfortable third wheel.

The general theme of the track was inspired by the Yorgos Lanthimos film, The Lobster. The central character was inspired by a note left on a public notice board in Coronet Bay, under the ads for old couches and refrigerators, ‘two girls who sat on mattresses with cats, I have lost my scanner and need it to be returned.'”

“We You Forgot”
“Has a bit of the ‘Burke and Wills’ about it this one. Not directly related, but with all the blowflies and dysentery. Our man is an old English explorer, under the spell of congenital psychopathy. Thrusting his heroic jawline westward, he sets out across the land with his grandiose notions of discovery. It’s not long before the expedition takes a turn and everybody dies. Old mate is absolutely aghast when it’s his turn.

We really hurt some amps for this one. We had them cranked with as much low end as we could wind-in. We were doing it in rehearsal and they sounded like they would blow. Once we got them in the isolation booth and cranked them, they did. Was an expensive and inconvenient riff. But it was all in the name of a-path-y. Nice to return the favour, even if it is in one of our silly little stories.”

“One of the great drumming performances. Those sizzling hats!! Stunning Stevie Carter, gunning for the greater good. Thoughtful, precise and magnificently brutal. The bedrock for the most enjoyable Peep Tempel song yet. (In my opinion.)”

“The earliest incarnation of this song sounded like the end of our career. Originally titled ‘Ageing Gracefully.’ It was as though the Chilli Peppers had infiltrated our collective psyche. Steve was playing a ‘dad funk’ beat. Stew had found a bass hook with a terrifyingly disproportionate skill to substance ratio, and reinforced its existence at the end of every bar. I felt I had no choice but to rap over it. All our friends loved it. Which was the worst possible result. We discussed disbanding, and spent the following months drinking heavily at rehearsal instead of actually practising. It was during this period that we wrote the rest of the album. For some reason we gave “Constable” another go. After some uncomfortably curt discussions about the importance of a team first philosophy, we ditched the individualistic instrumentation, added a corrupt police officer, an old diesel engine, some galahs and an organ. Desert dreaming.”

“Don’t Race”
“Fast. ‘From Bruce Rock to Beijing’ is one of the more enjoyable lines on the album. (Bruce Rock is a small farming community in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt) This one is an angry little thing. Nothing ground breaking, a solid three star effort and a ripping cardio workout, There is an unfortunate ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ type bit in the breakdown. But all in all, solid.”

“Stewart Rayner ladies and gentlemen, the ace of bass. Disco music is important. As is one’s capacity for change. The fact that Stew was wearing a Dead Moon tee when he wrote this bass riff highlights the ever-increasing possibility that we humans can redirect neural pathways. The studies into the plasticity of the human brain are absolutely fascinating. Reparation of trauma (physical or emotional), the bolstering of the brain’s core capabilities, the reversal of the aging of the brain! Rewire that Neurological Positioning System people. Destination? Joy.”

“It wouldn’t be a Peep Tempel record without an epic wank. It’s a repetitive riff with some nothing lyrics about someone wanting to talk to a guy called Alexander. It’s got some really cool gang backups and an epic ending. Spectacular.”

“Go Slow”
“I was fishing in Phnom Penh and went into a bait shop to get some burley. The clerk was dressed in drag. We got chatting about fishing and music. We headed up the main street together. My new friend started playing the Shepparton Airplane album on his ghetto blaster. It was remarkable. I began to weep. Just then my dear friend Tony pulled up in a Ford Cortina. He announced excitedly that the mixes were ready. I jumped in and was enveloped by the most amazing music I’d ever heard. It was all synths, massive walls of synth. It had this amazing bass line chugging through it that just tore me apart. I woke up and recorded a version as close to what I could remember. I took it to the day’s rehearsal and somehow we ended up with this. It’s not what I dreamed. But what is?”

“This one is a heavy swill — an oily and claustrophobic acknowledgement of sadness. Musically, it swims in itself. We got this one drunk for days, and then we gave it a megaphone. We had two alternate drop-down parts and decided we’d just go with both and turn it into an epic. It’s the misery that just keeps on giving.”