[sic] Magazine

Straight Arrows – Rising

The rather decent Straight Arrows have only gone and broken the three-minute mark for the first time on the poppy Rising, the follow-up to 2010’s messy bout of garage-psyche hedonism It’s Happening. Sell outs, right? Hardly. The “best band to come out of Sydney in an age”™ still manage to cram 13 breathless gems into 35 mid-fi minutes, grabbing headlines and making tentative steps towards the dancefloor with scuffed party rockers like “Continental Son” and the catchy single “Make Up Your Mind”.

While the artwork quality may have dipped significantly since It’s Happening, Owen Penglis’s songwriting is now next level. The band maximise, for example, on vocal harmonies during the scrappy “Don’t Tell Me” and the resultant garage/Girl Group love-in hits like a Dum Dum Girls demo where percussion is replaced with bursting balloons. And the muffled production continues for the heavily reverbed “Fruit Of The Forest”, its far-reaching tendrils of melody infiltrating the fuzzy riffs like vintage Crystal Stilts.

There’s some top drawer rock ‘n’ roll riffing and a rickety jangle to “Can’t Stand It” too, a track that blow outs with equal parts Black Lips snot and Nuggets’ weirder wails. The super cool “Petrified” on the other hand digs deep for some tinny surf while “Never Enough” deploys feedback and a fuzzy plod for Rising’s noisiest offering. The proto-hardcore of “Rotten Teeth” runs it close though, pogoing around like a lost Ramones number and threatening imminent derailment during its frenetic 92 seconds. If the radio waves were full of sell outs like these the world would be a much better place.

Best tracks: “Don’t Tell Me” and “Can’t Stand It”

~Rising is released 23rd June 2014 on Agitated.~