The World Warriors
8 Track, LP (2012, Create/Control)
I don’t often go to Velociraptor shows for a simple reason: my students like them. I don’t teach men how to weld or engineer or how to arbitrate corporate law. Instead I teach nice, well-adjusted late-teens – women mainly – about music history and the humanities. So at first glance, the rise to prominence of Velociraptor (and the myriad of bands in and around them) appear in stark contrast to Brisbane’s rich garage tradition. The garage I’m more familiar with is relatively niche and unpopular; it is the province of beer guts and Bracken Ridge. Instead this new garage scene has won for itself a hip type of popularity. I don’t mind at all. But this is a break with history. At the moment, it’s hard to imagine Brisbane garage sounding less like its sleazy, sweaty, bogan predecessors.
Yet a band like Velociraptor draws off a lot of that same energy. It’s lighter, breezier and siphoned through other things (The Kinks, The Troggs, The Easybeats and all the American Johnny-come-latelies) but it’s that same primitive urge at work. This band, for whatever reason, aim to get real drunk and real simple, and they make a good stab at both on The World Warriors. There’s ‘Cynthia’, who won’t read the book because she’s seen the film (over a slice of Mersey Beat), and the dumb howling of ‘Do the Ruby’. There’s the reverb drenching, the shrill guitar leads, AM sounds, scratchy vibes and a great deal of stock – or classic – chord progressions, depending on your tastes. There’s also a Beach Boys rip (‘Surf City Raptors’), but it blows. And that’s the album.
As a whole, it sounds more like the work of a rat-faced power trio than a 10-member ensemble. I didn’t like that aspect of it. It remains a little too knowing and polished from where I’m listening. This was surprising too. On one of the rare occasions I did see the band play, they were a ragged, awkward mess. Just terrible: everyone drunk onstage, multiple fucking tambourines and making a spectacle up there instead of a song. Of course, I loved it. And ever since I can understand what the appeal is. (It’s what the appeal has always been.)
So this is a compromise between that live racket and actual songs, and it’s not quite right yet, but Velociraptor may find a way through. All of which is a bit after the fact anyway. Whether they please the likes of me will hardly factor much in what comes next.
by Ian Rogers