It is tough to find the balance between catchy music and solid artistic direction. Some fall into the more pop side of things (e.g. LaRoux) while others are more on the art side (e.g. Blonde Redhead’s “23” album, or Beach House). Methyl Ethel is somehow in the middle of both fields with the band’s first album “Oh InHuman Spectacle”, released back in June 2015 in Australia and more recently in the rest of the world, on 4AD records.

The album starts with a couple of songs which are highly influenced by Mazzy Star and The Cure (Shadowboxing) featuring Jake Webb’s vocals, carefully blended in a very atmospheric but upbeat mood. The guitar lines on Rogues are again reminiscent of Robert Smith’s six-string work, as Perth-born leader Webb sings with a voice that somehow could be female.

The trio uses effects diligently throughout the album. On To Swim, vocals are further in the mix so we can get swamped through the vortex effect the beat brings. On the next song, Twilight Driving (probably my favorite), singer Webb is back on top of things, bringing a catchy refrain that sounds like an oasis of pop in the middle of a moody ambiance, which makes it even more efficient, as the contrast of both states is underlined. At that point, Methyl Ethel sound a bit like the Dum Dum Girls meeting with Metric’s earlier material. Very exciting!

 

Methyl Ethel work their sounds carefully. On the aptly named Depth Perception, the listener’s ear is being dragged into a state of semi-consciousness where a few notes of guitar show the way. Air vocals come in only as the song is almost over just to give a finishing touch to this musical dream.

Other bands from Perth, Australia are Explosions in the Sky and Tame Impala. Seems to be something in the water there, that makes musicians make awesome music.

methyl ethel album 2016

METHYL ETHEL
Oh Inhuman Spectacle
(4AD, 2016)

-Genre: indie rock
-Sounds a bit like Dum Dum Girls, The Helio Sequence, Islands

Buy the album on the band’s iTunes page for online purchasing
Follow the band via their Facebook page
Listen to videos on the band’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.