Words: James Frostick
Band image: Katherine Daly

Tasmanian transplants Mount Trout will be following up on 2016 LP Screwy with Shelter Belt, a brand-new record dropping on May 24. To a musical backing of tottering discordant folk, new single ‘I Have Everything’ sees Mount Trout counting its blessings – taking stock of life’s essentials and celebrating a humble glut of unconventional riches. 

Mount Trout exists in a sonic realm that sits even a little bit beyond Australia’s musical fringe. Free-noise and folk are some labels bandied about, but even those descriptors fail to properly do the three-piece band’s unique sound justice. Originally formed in Hobart, the band has also existed on Australia’s geographical fringe, and while relocating to rural Victoria brings them to the mainland, they still reside on the outer, which, in fairness, is the only place where Mount Trout’s music could be made. The trio of Will Fagan, Jonathan Ainslie and Timothy Brown craft music that evokes the uneven terrain of Australia’s interior – at points jagged and imposing, other times serene and inviting. The band is just under a month away from releasing its new album Shelter Belt through Rough Skies Records – ten songs of intriguing noise that touches on themes of discontent, futility and longing. Lead single ‘I Have Everything’ is a sublime example of what Mount Trout is about, and the track’s visuals (shot by Jonathon Ainslie, also of Treehouse) is a perfect accompaniment stylistically.

‘I Have Everything’ (and most of the album, come to think of it), has a decaying elegance, or a broad state of sonic disrepair. The track is like a sprawling ramshackle farm estate – bits of debris clutter open space, while wooden structures crumble into dilapidation. Despite this, the entire property retains a sense of overgrown beauty, perhaps a kind of feeling that has been enhanced by the ruinous forces of nature. ‘I Have Everything’ is purposefully built on discordant tones and repetitive clang. A one-sided lean that creates a skewed off-kilter aesthetic as a byproduct. It’s as if the whole musical apparatus is on its last legs, lurching ever onwards until its foundations finally collapse. The song never fully falls apart though, and what Mount Trout skilfully constructs out of spare sonic parts is a delightfully haphazard piece of jangling folk-tinged noise. Conceptually, on ‘I Have Everything’ Mount Trout dwells on wealth and affluence, but the kind that is removed from luxury. Here, the band lists off the essentials that bring happiness – the little things. Wood for the fire, coffee, gas – they are not rich in money, but rather in other resources. Manual labour brings back pain, but also satisfaction. Existing rurally – on the fringe – these items equate to a king’s treasury.

Listen and watch:

Shelter Belt will be released digitally and on cassette on May 24 through Rough Skies Records. You can pre-order your copy here.