Premiere: PROGRAM – ‘MOTORBIKE’

Words: James Frostick
Band photo: Chloe Mullowney
Album art: Jonno Ross-Brewin and James Kane

Melbourne five-piece Program (featuring members of The Stroppies, The Blinds, The Faculty, Meter Men and DARTS) is today announcing the mid-October release of Show Me – the band’s debut LP – through Anti Fade Records. Spearheading the announcement is the album lead single ‘Motorbike’ – a track of classic rock-radio-tinged melody mixed with a charming dollop of Australian twang. Although easy on the ears, the song’s breezy sound carries a feeling of earnest yearning – like you’re stuck inside while the outside world basks in the glory of a beautiful day.

I’ve always been in two minds about motorcyclists. On one hand, I’m peeved by their insistence on squeezing past me at every available opportunity, and on the other I acknowledge that I’m simultaneously envious of their ability to circumvent most traffic build-ups and logjams (on a discreet third hand, I can’t help but feel uncool by comparison, especially when crammed behind the wheel of my beat-up Mazda 2). This same mix of jealousy and frustration forms the inspirational crux of Melbourne group Program’s newie, ‘Motorbike’. The track places us in the position of a gridlocked goof, watching from a stationary position in stupefied amazement as a woman on a motorcycle blitzes past – free and oblivious to our stagnant strife, like traffic congestion was a foreign concept. As is common in such situations, we’re left in the motorcyclist’s dust to ponder our shitty commute – weighing up a newfound-yet-powerful desire to downgrade to two wheels, if simply to save time. That could be all this track is, if taken literally. Of course, it’s much more than that – Program has weaved a deeper, more relatable meaning in between the single’s catchy riffs.

From the cushy seat of our idling automobile, we see life passing us by. Replace the car’s interior for that of an office and you can still get a sense of the same dreary monotony at the heart of it all. Rote routine, the rat race, the daily grind – ‘Motorbike’ uses the titular vehicle as a device to communicate freedom from the drag of everyday living. When vocalist Rory Heane sings “I wish I had skills on a motorbike“, he wishes he had the courage to break out and pursue life on his own terms. He projects a fantastical lifestyle onto the motorcyclist, and conjures daydreams about their restless travels – cool and distant and free. No matter how nice your car is, you still get trapped in the same traffic as everyone else. ‘Motorbike’ is a glimpse at what life could be when you choose to circumvent the obstacles and weave your way to freedom.

Show Me will be released through the always excellent Anti Fade Records on Friday October 18. Click here for pre-orders. Program will also be playing at Weird Place Fest 3 at The Tote on Saturday October 19. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.