Words Dave Mullins.
Photos Kim Anderson – Shoot The Wicked Witch.
If I was to say the debut offering from Perth’s Axe Girl is one of the highlights of an underwhelming year in Australian music, I simply wouldn’t be doing it justice. The mix of pop-punk infused bubblegum is an absolute delight that throws me back to the days of Triple J playing awesome Australian punk and rock, before it became the menagerie of indie-electro-pop-folk-vomit that makes me want to jump out of a moving car into oncoming traffic. But that’s another matter.
I think what really works for me is the amount of fun to be had in the music itself. Songs like ‘You’re Not A Ninja’ and ‘Beach (Take Off Your Clothes)’ just rock. Sure, they aren’t a call to arms for civil disobedience nor a statement of virtuosity, but they are an anthem of the Australian summer. I think that making enjoyable music is overlooked in this day and age. Bands get so caught up with image and technicality that good song writing is an afterthought, if even a thought at all. I’m not saying that the band lacks in technicality or image, but it’s clear that making great music is their number one goal.
The production of the album is great; it feels like it was recorded in the ‘90s. There is a trend of over-production, especially in terms of ‘perceived loudness’ that has taken over music these days. This has been avoided here; I could be fooled into thinking it was recorded entirely on an analogue desk or reel to reel like the good old days. Sure, maybe that’s a little bit of pointless sentimentality on my part, but regardless it’s an attribute of the sound. The guitar amp sounds live, the kick doesn’t sound like it’s in the boot of a car. It’s just sensational.
The album is a testament to the partying, rhythmic and catchy. Songs made for dancing and singing along to, it’s just a delight. Despite its playfulness the record has a decent amount of edge, there’s a hint of garage that I think really helps take the music from pop to punk. Call it vintage guitar tones with poppy bass lines, or maybe it’s the in-your-face attitude of the vocals, whatever. The point is that the music is fun! This highly addictive debut will be a mainstay of your car stereo, I guarantee it.