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Howzat! Archive - April 21st 2010

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BRITISH INDIA'S EXPLOSIVE HITS
Is there a better rock band in this town than British India? One listen to their third album, Avalanche (out next week through Shock), confirms they are one of the great bands of the modern era. It's the perfect title for a record that sees singer Declan Melia declare: "I could tear up your whole world and then not even care."

A line in Nowhere Boys reminds of Midnight Cowboy's classic Everybody's Talkin': "Everybody's talking at me, I don't hear a word they're saying.""Everybody's talkin'," Declan sings, "everyone has nothing to say." Avalanche is the wonderful sound of teen angst. And this is a band that can make young people care about rock again. A sample in 90 Ways To Leave Your Lover states: "Our senses and our minds will no longer respond to moderate stimulation." British India are aiming for greatness, and that's a beautiful thing. "Let's do something amazing while we still can," Declan declares in the bruising ballad Vanilla.

Amid the angst, Avalanche is ultimately celebratory. "I'll just remember this album as the fun album," Declan tells Howzat! "There was a certain confidence that you're never going to have on your second effort, and also we just dug the songs. I know that even if we never made another British India record, we could listen to this one and be truly proud … great times, man, truly."

The album's first official single, Beneath The Satellites, features the line, "If everything is so fantastic, if this is our time, then why do I feel like I'm missing out?"
"I like being in a band," Declan points out. "I'm only really starting to enjoy it to its full potential now. It's a cliché but it's easy for the touring side of things to just degenerate into a boys club. Sometimes you feel like you're on a never-ending boys' weekend away, where nothing matters and you never have to be sober for work in the morning. Though we all know it's an unrealistic way of living, it can be so great. Great moments also spring from writing. When a song springs to life, it's quite splendid, and it's a far more lasting exhilaration than getting drunk or crashing a car."

The single also includes the line, "Take me somewhere I've not been before." Does that summarise the band's approach to making this album? "It more accurately summarises our approach to writing in general," Declan explains. "The best songs we write always drag us in a direction of their own choosing, and when you're writing, the only way to keep turning yourself on is to not repeat yourself. And we were certainly a bit bolder this time with some songs." The approach is, Don't think, Do! "That should be the rule with songwriting - don't let yourself think too much, because once you try, you're fucked."

After making two albums in Sydney with legendary producer Harry Vanda, British India made Avalanche in Melbourne with manager Glenn Goldsmith. But Vanda remains an inspiration. "The debt we owe to Harry in terms of songwriting know-how and even our approach to songwriting is vast," Declan says. "And we still used a few of the tricks he taught us from Thieves and Guillotine. We all adore Harry, he helped us a lot." The result is Avalanche. Rock album of the year? Without a doubt.


BIRDS OF A FEATHER ROCK TOGETHER
It sounds like a disease: Rumourtism. It's actually the name of a Melbourne band, who have just released their debut album, Birds Of A Feather. And they deliver an infectious brand of rock, swinging from rootsy pop to heavy riffing. Call it "hippie metal", if you want. "I've always been a fan of random word play," says singer Bradlee Jay, explaining the band name. "We could have been called Halal Cool J, Leo Slayer or RDO Speedwagon, but we're not a hardcore or punk band, so I guess I subconsciously chose one of the tamer names." The album features some great guests, including Steve Hesketh, Ian Collard and Jess McAvoy. The launch is Sunday at the Northcote Social Club. Head to www.rumourtism.com for more info.


TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE
Two former Mushroom recording acts are playing live this week. After time in the UK, The Paradise Motel are back home, playing one final show in their Northcote Social Club residency next Tuesday. They're previewing their new album, Australian Ghost Story, a concept record examining the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain. Meanwhile, rock goddess Fiona Lee Maynard - who fronted Have A Nice Day at the start of the '90s - is playing on Saturday with her new band, Tijuana Souvenirs, at the Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood.


CHART WATCH
No homegrown hits in the national Top 20. But The Temper Trap land at 32.

On A Mission GABRIELLA CILMI (number 25)
Love Lost THE TEMPER TRAP (32, debut)
Sweet Disposition THE TEMPER TRAP (35)
Close To You THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (40)

The John Butler Trio spend just one week on top. And the new Hoodoo Gurus album exits the Top 40 after three weeks.

April Uprising THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (number two)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (four)
On Broadway DAVID CAMPBELL (17, debut)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (18)
Ten GABRIELLA CILMI (29)
Wonder LISA MITCHELL (30)
40 Years True Blue JOHN WILLIAMSON (37)
Evermore EVERMORE (40)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Nowhere Boys BRITISH INDIA
Til Sunrise THE TIGER AND ME
Camp Out AN HORSE
Will You Shine? PERRY KEYES
No Hello RUMOURTISM

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