Dad rock just got cooler. And a little bit angrier.
The Baker is the latest release from Perth-based rock band Shelby & The Neighbours. This four-song project is the second EP of the trilogy that the band plans to produce, following up on their 2015 release, The Butcher.
The EP kicks off with some energy on, “Bespoke.” I’m impressed by how dynamic frontman Jules’ vocals are. He switches mid-sentence from a spoken-word, punk vocal style to a growl. The transitions are seamless and surprisingly pleasant to the ear.
The band describes themselves as “angry dad rockers” on their Bandcamp page. I wouldn’t dispute this claim at all. “Hiccups,” is a track that actually makes hiccupping feel like a bad trip, as the band’s choppy instrumentation and Jules’ screechy vocals in the chorus insinuate a hectic experience.
In the track’s second verse Jules sings, “Crave, a little bit pale, weak at the knees, still a smile on your face / but your nails are down to the skin and they smell / I have hiccups.” This leads me to believe that these “hiccups” are a metaphor for abrasive, chaotic feelings that come and go, but nonetheless, catch you off-guard.
The production is pretty tight. The EP was recorded at RADA Studios in Perth with Matty Gio, according to the band’s Bandcamp page. My only craving is a fuller sound. Yes, the group is a trio but “Paper Towel” could have used some backing vocals to give the “ooos” some depth, which would in turn make the song sound more hi-fi. That may not be the “angry dad rock” way, but this was still something that stood out to me as a small minus.
Nobody is going to be bored to death by this EP. It’s only four songs, all of which are three minutes and 30 seconds in length or shorter. Fans of The Descendents, Courtney Barnett or The Bouncing Souls will vibe to this record.
If you like this one, I would recommend listening to the first EP of their planned trilogy, The Butcher, to get a better understanding of the trio’s sound, as well as, the direction their music is going. I’m stoked for when the third project surfaces. We have The Butcher and The Baker, so I’m going to guess that the name of the next EP will be The Buyer. It doesn’t sound very “hard rock” but I guess we will see in time what the trio from Perth has in store for us.
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