We love it when a band arrives and in some intangible manner seems to sum up our detached, sweeping generalisations of the place from which they came. The Beach Boys sounded very Californian, right? The Smiths sounded very Manchester, didn’t they? The Strokes couldn’t appear from anywhere other than New York could they? Well, if you imagine the Eastern Gold Coast of Australia to be all slacker surfers, with a relaxed, sunny disposition, where partying and enjoying life is the common path of choice, then you’re on your way to finding Gung Ho as perfectly suited to their geography as we do.
This new trio call Brisbane home and they’ve just released their debut single, Twin Rays. It will be the initial tune from their planned EP, which we’ve been informed is due out in early 2012. From the three tracks that we’ve heard to date, it’s for before and after the beach-bound parties. Their initial single is as bleached and pretty as Best Coast or Tennis, although not quite as twee. It feels like a surf pop song written by actual surfers, so there’s stacks of relaxed enjoyment, as Michael McAlary sings “Oh you know we ain’t rather be anywhere else“. We assume they’re talking about the beach. This is a surf pop song with the perfect attitude. We also noticed that the echo throughout the tune blurs what is actually an intricate set of guitar plucks.
On the next tune, Weekend Mothers, has the guitars take centre stage, as they turn the style on. If Twin Rays is the stoned morning-after-the-night-before, then this tune is the night before. It’s all spikey flicks of guitar and hand clapped beats. It’s rhythm is that of a party at it’s peak, as the song is delivered over a collapsing drum roll. Gone is the 60s surf imagery and in it’s place are some punked vocal yelps and a raised aggression, as Oliver Dincan takes over the vocals and sings “I can’t stand myself“. Its wound up so tight it can’t sit still, but it brings us an entirely different side to the band that you didn’t see coming having heard the first single.
The other available demo, Vacation, is just as pumped up, in the same hyper way Spain’s Mendetz, or Sweden’s The Hives used to come out of the blocks. More styled vocals appear with Duncan throwing out a sweaty performance with every word that he spits out, as the backing vocals call in response. Once again the guitars dance behind it all and this time the bass enters the room like the big fat bloke taking over the dancefloor without a care in the world.
The band have had useful support slots with the like of The Holidays, Papa vs Pretty, Bleeding Knees Club, Comic Sans and Kids of 88, among others. They’re planning to take the EP’s songs out around the East Coast for a few dates in September, in venues across Brisbane and Sydney (see below). You can definitely expect a party. Only time will tell how the shows will translate when performed on a rainy day in Manchester, but we strongly suggest that anywhere in the world would thoroughly enjoy having a little piece of sunny Brisbane delivered to their doorsteps, right? Right. (MB)
31st Aug – Twin Rays’ Single Launch /w Morning Harvey @ Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
3rd Sept – Dune Rats /w Gung Ho, Pirates Alive, Country Junk @ Billy’s Beach House, Gold Coast
16th Sept – Dune Rats /w Gung Ho, Ginger Witches @ Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
17th Sept – Dune Rats /w Gung Ho, Millions DJs @ Woodland, Brisbane
24th Sept – Velociraptor /w Gung Ho, Gooch Palms @ Oxford Arts Factory Gallery Bar, Sydney
GUNG HO – TWIN RAYS
GUNG HO – WEEKEND MOTHERS