Words: Doug Wallen
Banner image: Will Zerno

Celebrating a new drummer, Melbourne trio Life Strike unveil a loopy self-made video for one of their characteristically short and nagging songs.

Life Strike stand out quite a lot from other post-punk bands around Melbourne. That’s partly down to their unchecked sense of humour, and partly down to a distinctive theatrical bent that sees their minute-long anthems transformed entirely when performed live. DIY sound effects and spoken word come into play, recasting their Wire-esque miniatures into a wider, weirder tapestry.

The primitive new video for ‘Call of the Wild’ manages to capture both sides of the band in just 66 seconds, combining a spiky little earworm with funny faces and scribbled animation (think MS Paint) courtesy of guitarist/singer Patrick McCabe and bassist/singer Nick Pratt. The song kicks off Life Strike’s self-titled four-song 7”, which arrived late last year on Unwound, though the recorded version includes an ominous extra half-minute of atmosphere and narration. But even without that element, the video version smuggles plenty of nightmarish environmental portent into its cheeky attack.

You might recognise McCabe and Pratt from their other outfits – McCabe is a founding member of Brisbane indie rock veterans Dollar Bar, while Pratt played for years in Deaf Wish, playing bass on the band’s first four albums. As for new drummer Brendan Clift, who doesn’t appear in the video, he most recently played in the Hong Kong trio Teenage Girls. Clift’s first official gig with Life Strike comes later this month at Melbourne’s Gasometer (upstairs), supporting Brisbane’s noise-scoured indie champs Tape/Off on the last date of their album launch tour. Lizard Queen and The Ocean Party’s Lachlan Denton will also support.

Recorded and mixed by Pratt himself, Life Strike’s 7” EP follows a couple of terrific demos from 2016. Unlike those straightforward demos, the EP comes closer to the band’s memorable live show by detouring into oddball storylines. Self-described as a band whose “characters inhabit and explore the post-apocalyptic wasteland,” Life Strike turn Who-style rock opera inside out without sacrificing spontaneous appeal. Catch them live and it’ll all make sense – or most of it, anyway.

Life Strike’s self-titled 7” debut is out now via Unwound Records. Life Strike will play upstairs at Gasometer in Melbourne on Saturday, July 28 with Tape/Off, Lizard Queen and Lachlan Denton.