Recent months have seen some big changes in the Australian social landscape, at least when it comes to same-sex marriage. The legalisation of same-sex marriage in December 2017 was a huge deal, alleviating some of the pain same-sex couples have had to undergo for generations. Although it doesn’t undo the unjust treatment of these individuals at the hands of decades of systemic prejudice, there is an element of newfound freedom that comes with being able to fully express one’s own sexuality and have it recognised on a nationwide, political scope.
While ‘Out & Down’ – the sweet new tune from scruffy lo-fi outfit Straight Arrows – doesn’t necessarily tackle the issue on this fundamental level, there’s a certain liberated feeling that runs throughout that I can only imagine LGBTQI individuals felt on the day that same-sex marriage was legalised. The song, which was reportedly crafted by Owen Penglis and co. as an ode to a close friend’s coming out, sounds celebratory. ‘Out & Down’ is told from the perspective of someone coming to accept who they are, avowing to love everything that they are and committing to seeking out greener pastures, far removed from the alienating territories they once inhabited.
A lyrical example:
I’m sick of getting low / it upsets my family
I’m movin’ outta here / to find what I can see
Well it’s just who I am / not what I choose to be
And if you want a bite of this peach / come and shake the tree
As for the music, it’s propulsive and energetic, vibrant and strident – a sound heralding new beginnings and avowing to live in a positive frame of mind. It’s quintessential Straight Arrows – scruffy around the edges but purposefully so. I can already picture the bodies moving at the front of their next show, propelled into exuberant motion, fuelled by optimism, celebrating liberation. The world’s far from perfect, but it’s also important to celebrate the milestones when they arrive.