Record review: Straight Arrows – Rising (2014, LP)

straight arrows rising

Even on record, Sydney’s Straight Arrows sound like a band you want to party with. Semi-strict devotees of the original wave of ’60s garage-rock they may be, but they’ve also got more than enough primal middle-fingers-to-the-air punk attitude to make sure their second album smells more like beer and sweat than it does of nostalgia.

Not that nostalgia is necessarily a bad thing; it just sounds better when it’s run through the musical meat grinder that is Straight Arrows’ perfectly primitive guitar thrashing, barely discernible vocals and so-lo-fi-they’re-almost-non-existent bass lines.

The breakneck ‘Can’t Stand It’ immediately harks back to the classic garage bands of the ’60s, while the 90-second ‘Rotten Teeth’ is appropriately titled to be the most ‘punk’ song here. Single ‘Petrified’ catches singer and Arrows mainman Owen Penglis in a more measured mood, before the song grinds to a halt, broken and battered by the waves of messy surf guitar spattered all over the final minute.

‘Without Ya’ is an anomaly in that a prominent, driving bass-line features for the first time, with the end result benefiting hugely in what could almost be called a groovy fashion, recalling much more of a West Coast garage vibe than anything else here, but the most pleasant surprise is that there isn’t only reverb-laden garage-rock on Rising, as might be expected. At times the path trails off on tangents with strange or dark undertones, as on the introductory track and ‘Fruit of the Forest’.

This aside, be happy in the knowledge that bands like Straight Arrows – on the whole – don’t exist to take us on long-winded musical journeys into the unknown. They’re here to make us want to jump around like idiots; and thankfully this album more than does the job.

For FasterLouder

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