Words: James Frostick
The ranks of Brisbane’s new crop of post-punk up-and-comers has swollen to include cerebral mood-moulders Local Authority. The trio has recently dropped its second-ever single ‘Oil Rigs’ – a lavish and textural track indebted to the band’s to shoegaze forebears, but angles to look inward, rather than downward.
A quick scan of Local Authority’s Bandcamp reveals little about the band’s ethos and methodology, but one line manages to clue me in to the emotional stakes. “A new way to be sad“. Tongue-in-cheek or not, this is still bold statement from the band, especially in an age where it feels as if the topography of sadness has been charted extensively by musicians over the years. There is certainly a despondency to Local Authority’s new single ‘Oil Rigs’, but it’s a subtler emotional take – more wistful bummer than sharp sorrow. Wider reading reveals that the track is about an internal struggle or sorts, where the mind is torn by conflicting thoughts – a churning and yearning for greener pastures that might just be a hopeful fantasy.
Musically, Local Authority channels this disharmony into a beautiful layered noise-scape. Morose vocals meet meticulous production, as vocalist and bass player Jacque McGill’s low-end drone blends harmoniously with the overall mix. Although sitting close to the gaze-y end of the musical spectrum, there’s a strong backbone to ‘Oil Rigs’ that tethers the track’s most fantastical moments, as if one is undoubtedly entranced by the prospect of losing themselves wholly in a dream, but can’t yet let go of reality. That being said, the track’s highs are striking and beautiful, colouring the apparent sadness in vivid hues – a testament to the band’s musical nous and composure only two singles deep into its career.
‘Oil Rigs’ is available now digitally through Valley Heat Records. Brisbane folk can see the band launch the song on Saturday May 11 at The Bearded Lady with support from Start Together, Old Home and The Steady As She Goes.