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Track By Track: Davey Lane ‘Atonally Young’

The initial pair of teasing tracks released from Atonally Young“Komarov” and “For No One” — hinted that Davey Lane had discovered some comfortable middle ground between the synth-led compositions of his debut solo EP and the forthrightness of his You Am I contributions. The final result is a fascinating record, distinctly led by a desire to break from formulaic enclosures, as well glue together experimental ideas with more structured pop-rock leads.

Related: Review – Davey Lane ‘Atonally Young’

Atonally Young is out this Friday (October 2) via Field Recordings/MGM. Stream the entire record below:

Davey was also kind enough to give us a complete break-down of each track from the record, their origin and back-story.

All words below by Davey Lane.

I’ve always had a nerdy fascination with the Soviet space program, since I was maybe 6 years old or something, and the story of Komarov’s Soyuz 1 mission is a particularly interesting, if not sad, chapter in its history. The lyric writing process is usually like drawing blood from a stone for me but this one wrote itself.

She’s A Timebomb
One of the oldest songs on the record. I kinda dig that it’s frenetic and has a few chord and timing changes that make you feel uncomfortable. I got the idea for the middle section after listening to a rad dub compilation that my friend Rusty made for me. It doesn’t sound anything like dub really, apart from that great drum drop in it. And the guitar solo is one of my favourite things I’ve done, it’s so ridiculous and demented. For that one part I had to forget everything I’ve ever learned about guitar playing. In hindsight it seems to have a bit of the Robert Fripps about it. The lyrics were sort of made up on the spot, but isn’t “are you anime or animal?” a question that’s been on all of our minds at some point, right?

Witch In My Mind
I was on a boat playing keyboards for Jimmy Barnes. I love playing with Jimmy and he’s a top bloke, but I was playing keys which is not my instrument and right at the end of his set I had to play the two most iconic piano intros in Australian rock music, Khe Sanh and Working Class Man, so I was a little, err, terrified. To blow off some steam I went down to the “disco” for a drink. Realize this boat was essentially a giant floating RSL. Anyways, they were playing all the staples, “Le Freak” and all, I thought I’d like to try to write a disco song. When “Oh What A Night” came on it was time to get the fuck outta there so went back to my room and started writing it. The verse and chorus came real quick. Tim Rogers wrote the music to the middle eight section and we had a song done. Thought it’d be a larf to start a song with a questionable line about a girl who “cast a spell on me” but as the song unfolds it becomes apparent that it wasn’t just a cheesy arsed love song line and the girl was actually a witch who cast spells over cauldrons and held this unsuspecting fool captive in her dungeon. It’s completely ridiculous!

Not An Option Now
I remember the date I wrote this song. December 16, 2013. I’d played the night before in Ballarat, and on the train home was listening to Jen Cloher’s amazing record “In Blood Memory”. In hindsight, I shamelessly ripped off three chords from a song of Jen’s (D to E to F#m), but it was the first song of mine that absolutely wrote itself in the time it took to play it. The first lyrics I jotted down are the lyrics on the record.

The Last Of The Freakazoids
A song entirely built around a title. And to wedge “gristle and grime” into a song. I always put myself in imaginary musical scenarios with my songs so it’s like what I’d imagined Rundgren fronting The Who might have sounded like. The closest to free-form rapping I’ll ever get to. I had thought of asking Courtney Barnett to sing one of the lines as it would have suited her style but by the time it came to record it she had become massively successful and I didn’t wanna appear to be jumping on her bandwagon or accused of using her name/involvement to get people to listen to my stuff, so I didn’t ask her. Her stuff is great I reckon.

A Lesson In Cause and Effect
No shit right, I wrote this song on a piano at Heathrow Airport. Not saying it to be all “hey I’m a globetrotting fuckin jerk-off” but I did, so there ya go. I wrote some of the lyrics at a train station in country Victoria, it was 5am and I was looking for a way home. How’s about that?

For No One
Wrote this for a dear friend who ain’t around no more. If you know me you know who it’s for. He fuckin loved the Replacements and the Posies so the musical nods are in there.

The Undergrowth
Written with a mate, John Harley. The dude has 20 years worth of these bullshit good evocative lyrics constantly in his back pocket. He literally showed me the page and I had the guitar line and the song came together real quick.

Portal To Another Lyfe
I almost feel this song is disgustingly positive. I listened to some of my old band, The Pictures’ records last year, and there were bits I cringed at, and bits I’d forgotten I did that I was impressed by. But all the lyrical themes were so slight and so bitter. Blah blah “I’m sad”….”I’m dumb”…who gives a shit? No wonder no-one listened to the records! I think this was a direct reaction to that. I’m older. Wiser? Probably not. But disgustingly more positive about life that’s for sure.

Smash Yer Head In
This was made up as we went along, lyrics too. It’s everything I loved when I was super young. And now when I’m not so young.

In The Light Of The Sun
Based around my most hated chord progression, which I swore I’d never resort to, (the one you hear in every Blink 182 song and most pop songs on the charts today) but I flipped it around a bit and changed the bass notes for effect. “I thought of my gran when I wrote it. I sat in a hospital room for a week seeing her decline more and more every day, waiting for the inevitable to happen. It was the most conflicted I’ve ever felt. I didn’t want to let go but every night I went home I secretly hoped that she’d pass peacefully in the night, as much as I hated myself for it. I felt bad for the nurses there who had to tell us about which organs had started shutting down that day and then probably walk across the hall to tell another family exactly the same thing. BUT, it’s something that everyone in the world has to deal with at some point innit? It was fucked and its something I’m physically incapable of talking about (lucky I’m writing this), so when regressives like myself get these kinda feelings and you have the ability to write a song, you write them into a song don’t ya?