Words: James Frostick
Band image: Clint Morgan

Following on from last year’s barnstorming long-player Hammered, Naarm/Melbourne-based punk posse Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters are back with another gnarly offering. ‘Been Waiting’ is the first prickly piece of music from the group’s forthcoming fifth record Waiting In A Corner. The track is propelled by the group’s signature sense of raucous energy, but heightened production serves to highlight the sextet’s bruising appeal in greater detail.

I’m not sure what amounts to a suitably tolerable timeframe when anticipating a follow-up record. A year? Two? I think it’s a bit rough for fans to clamour for more output from a band when the group has only recently delivered the goods, but thankfully Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters is in a prolific mindset. Last year the six-piece wrecking crew released Hammered (reviewed here), a record of punk sprinters that ran roughshod over my ears when it was released last March. Not long after that the group dropped a live compilation. So, you’d think that’d be enough for folks to linger long while the group caught its collective breath. Nup – JRB & The Heaters are back already with a new album on the horizon.

‘Been Waiting’ is the first taste of the new LP (half of which was written in 2019 and then polished off last year), and it is a continuation of the band’s eagerness for bolting from point A to point B, leaving debris scattered in its wake. Recorded in a no-doubt similar breakneck pace over two days at Northcote’s Soundpark Studios, the group has still found time to up the fidelity on this record and, by extension, added depth to its sound. I figure this thanks to the added clarity in the ‘Been Waiting’ mix – the hand claps, differentiation of guitar tone in the chop, the sharpness of the snaking coils of lead guitar and the larynx-shredding urgency heard within the gang-style vocals. The group’s bloodshot and white-knuckled scruffiness is still front and centre, but the added crispness helps give me a better sense of the track’s sentiments. JRB & The Heaters have clearly been waiting a while for something to come along and put them out of their shared misery. Whatever they’ve been craving has been kept cruelly out of reach, but patience has seemingly persevered in the face of common sense. With the end looming, they group urge it forward, chanting “Why wait?” as the hammer of freedom starts to drop. I figure that same sentiment extends to the band’s music. Why wait to give us more if there’s already more to give? I’m thankful for the group’s generosity – you should be too.