Words: Doug Wallen
Banner image: Pop Filter

An ensemble reconvening members of The Ocean Party, Pop Filter have shared a third song from their debut album. ‘Big Yellow Van’ is a sincere and thankful love letter to spending years touring with your closest mates.

Following the sudden passing of Zac Denton in 2018, Melbourne guitar-pop crew The Ocean Party closed up shop with a final tour and the mini-album Nothing Grows, exclusively featuring songs penned by Zac. Since then, we’ve heard from the band members
on a regular basis, thanks to a wide spread of other projects that flourished in tandem with The Ocean Party, including Snowy Band and Cool Sounds. A full six of those players (who swap vocal and songwriting duties as usual) resume their lovely chemistry in Pop Filter, a follow-up band that continues to mine a familiar strain of poignant, detailed songwriting. Split between Melbourne, Wollongong, and Hobart, the new act will makes its debut with an album called Banksia, out August 21 via in-house label Osborne Again and longtime partner Spunk Records.

‘Big Yellow Van’ is the latest single from the record, written by Lachlan Denton after he had just finished making his solo album A Brother, an emotional unpacking of his lifelong relationship with his departed sibling and bandmate. After tackling that difficult subject matter, Lachlan wanted to turn from the past to the present, observing his good fortune at making and touring so many albums with his dear friends in The Ocean Party – and now Pop Filter.

How many get to spend their early 20s on the road with their friends?” asks the opening line, as the song settles into a comfortable and layered jangle-pop pulse bolstered by shining synth notes. “I wanted to write a song that wasn’t just about Zac,” says Lachlan, “but about all of us and the time we shared over the years touring and recording. I think it’s necessary in life to stop and reflect on your experiences. I’m super grateful that I got to spend so much intimate time with my best friends, and writing this song was a way to tell them that.”

Following the steampunk-inspired video for ‘Laughing Falling’ and a warm cover of ‘Romance at the Petrol Station’ by Jordan Ireland’s post-Middle East group Stolen Violin, ‘Big Yellow Van’ establishes high expectations for Banksia. Largely written and recorded over four days in a family holiday house on the South Coast of New South Wales, it’s a worthy successor to The Ocean Party’s deep (and deeply felt) discography, and hopefully the start of many more years of these friends making music together.

Banksia comes out August 21 via Osborne Again and Spunk. Pre-order here.