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SCHOOL DAMAGE – ‘School Damage’ Album Review

SCHOOL DAMAGE – School Damage

school-damageAustralian label, Chapter Music, has just released the self-titled debut album by Melbourne indiepop foursome School Damage.  School Damage’s sound is defined by wobbly keyboards, weaving bass lines, and lyrical content focused on the anxieties of modern life and love. They take cues from 80s DIY pop outfits such as The Vaselines, Young Marble Giants and The Particles.

No Ideas Left is the opener and you are immediately catapulted into 1980s indie punk land with a “Shop Assistants meets Rubella Ballet” sound. There is a distinct LoFi/DiY feeling with some neat catchy hooks sprinkled liberally throughout!

On The Bus a distinctly strange keyboard/synth is joined by atonal vocals, some female backing “ba, ba, ba, baas” and it just works as bedroom indie pop full of creativity and vitality. The songs are generally short (sub-three minutes) and there are thirteen in all on the album including the kitchen sink drama of Gasbagging and the very strong Tall Poppies dominated by a stylophone sounding riff (well, School Damage are Australian so you get the connection!)

Grown Ups has a “Jilted John” vocal and some pacey backing rhythm – its actually quite fun! Plumbing the mundane, School Damage pen a sad ballad about Online Shopping that actually made me sad and happy at the same time! The band have a knack for a catchy LoFi tune (and this is real LoFi) with Cloudy Skies displaying a lovely melody and Particles paying homage to the legendary Sydney “bubble-gum punk” band of the same name with some of its own bubble-gum.

School Damage Rockers does what it says in that it adds some bite and rock n’ roll to the album – it is my favorite track on the album. On Distance School Damage take on the love song with atonal keyboards and guitar that is about as punk in attitude and as far away from punk in sound that you could manage! The formula is twisted slightly on Silent Zone with the drums absent and the ballad just supported by keyboard and guitar. The second to last song, Try Something New sounds like the theme tune to a 1970’s cartoon where the tape has stretched creating a weird backing for the vocals.

Closing the album with It’s Not Goodbye, School Damage pen another version of the stylophone driven ballad, this time with female lead vocals and it’s a pleasant “love song”.

School Damage by School Damage can be found here: www.chaptermusic.com
Find them online here: www.facebook.com/schooldamagerockers

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