Words: Doug Wallen
Last Leaves drummer Noah Symons rekindles his long-running solo outlet with an intimate stop-motion video about appreciating day-to-day life.
Though most visible last year as the drummer of Last Leaves, a Melbourne band featuring three-quarters of the dearly departed Lucksmiths, Noah Symons has been home-recording layered compositions as Great Earthquake for more than decade. Whether live or on albums like 2010’s Drawings and 2013’s Mind Maps, Symons builds his songs from scratch via looped guitar, drums and other embellishments. The effect is that of a mercurial one-man-band, wrangling miniature whirlwinds of itchy indie pop before letting them dissolve back into the ether.
Symons’ new single, ‘Learn to Love the Ordinary’, follows suit, starting with a simple ticking beat before expanding into a mounting latticework of textures – from spindly guitar lines to chanted vocals to gently wheezing melodica. Evoking the tangled majesty of ’90s indie luminaries like The Sea and Cake and Modest Mouse, the self-recorded tune has garnered an appropriately DIY video.
Comprised of a thousand individual photos, the stop-motion clip echoes the song’s message about appreciating life’s little moments. It’s a poignant glimpse of Symon’s own life, including affectionate shots of his home in the Dandenong Ranges and his commute to work in Melbourne’s CBD. Bookended by a hand-written (and then erased) title sheet and finally an atmospheric sunset, the video lingers on the things most dear to Symons, whether they be tall trees, blue skies, his drum kit or his two young children.
‘Learn to Love the Ordinary’ is the lead single from Great Earthquake’s third album, Thinking & Making, due out on April 6 through Lost & Lonesome. The long-player finds Symons singing more often, and even features a collaboration with his three-year-old daughter. It’s his first solo release since 2015’s jittery, genre-mingling EP, Thought Broadcasting.
More mellow and meditative than his previous work, the new song sees Great Earthquake’s homespun warmth take a rewarding turn toward introspection.
Thinking & Making comes out April 6 on cassette and digitally via Lost & Lonesome.
Banner image: Shane Shepherd