Record review: Jeremy Neale – In Stranger Times (2013, EP)

Jeremy Neale

Brisbane indie-pop troubadour Jeremy Neale must be one of the hardest-working musicians plying his trade today. Not satisfied with being a member of rabble rousers Velociraptor, surf-rock piss-takers Teen Sensations and space-noise act Tiger Beams, as well as being support act of choice for the likes of The Preatures and Surfer Blood, he’s now releasing a long-awaited debut EP under his own name. It’s reasonable to think that having fingers in so many pies might mean In Stranger Times would be a patchy affair, but in reality, it contains some of the Queensland Music Award winner’s best musical output to date. Giving generous nods to sixties lo-fi garage-pop and classic girl groups of the same era, it’s a fun and catchy breath of musical fresh air from start to finish. Neale’s innate ability to write three-minute pop gems and his soulful garage croon are his strong points, most notably on latest single ‘Swing Left’, which manages to mix clap-along pop with ominous piano-led despondency. The title track is another highlight, as Neale joins forces with Brisbane’s favourite all-girl guitar band Go Violets to run through a perfectly-rounded pop song with instantly catchy guitar intro and boy-girl harmonies to die for. ‘A Love Affair To Keep You There’ is a darker effort; the inevitable break-up song that’s in contrast to the previous lyrical content. It will be interesting to see if Neale continues with his solo ventures in the near future, or whether he’ll be happy to remain as frontman and song-writer for Velociraptor or one of his other acts, but on this evidence the path to take should be pretty clear. (Create/Control)

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