We Keep The Beat...
12 Track, LP (2012, Modular)
Related: Jonathan Boulet.
When Jonathan Boulet’s first self-titled album came out in 2009, all squawk and bluster and irresistible energy, it seemed like the Sydney drummer-turned-singer was on the verge of something big. Songs like ‘A Community Service Announcement’ and ‘Continue Calling’ stuck close to a compelling messy pop form, but nothing on the debut sounded especially finished. Still, there was enough raw promise to whet appetites for whatever came next.
A 2010 single – ‘You’re A Animal’ – tantalised but didn’t really expand on the basic premise, and an extended jaunt with indie outfit Parades deferred the release of new material. Boulet, however, is back on the scene and ready to claim a space in our collective consciousness once again with We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart. His best full-length so far, it combines the debut’s uncontainable enthusiasm, a roughed-up professionalism, and a bunch of really good songs.
Throughout the album Boulet coaxes a greater range of sounds from his set-up, managing to jam the odd nooks and crannies of these straightaway song structures with squiggly sci-fi guitar riffs, barrelhouse percussion, a sprinkling of panpipes and even the odd vocal collage. The album is filled with rich, breathtaking moments, and Boulet, who plays every instrument, sounds as though he’s savouring every part of the process.
Take a look at the run times here and you’ll see some welcome variety, too. At first listen, ‘Piao Voca Slung’ seems a bit aimless over its eight minutes, but the way Boulet transitions from crescendo to detour to crescendo to left-turn to mangy solo proves deliciously inventive upon closer listens. On the anti-establishment shout-along ‘Trounce’ there’s a certain unease to his joyful chanting of, “I do what I’m told/I just don’t know any better.” Same goes for the way he locks together the warm and bright licks that carry ‘This Song Is Ragged’ home and the thunderous drum fills that punctuate ‘You’re A Animal’.
Boulet makes quite an impression in an hour’s time. The kid’s got heart, brains and quite an ear for a hook, throwing himself – body and soul – into these tunes.
by Jen Peterson-Ward