Review by Andrea Royston
Known as one of Australia’s quirkiest and most beguiling bands, Methyl Ethel graced Melbourne’s Forum stage on Friday night playing to a sold-out crowd as part of their Triage album tour.
Triage, is Methyl Ethel’s third album written, produced and performed by frontman Jake Webb in his home studio in West Perth. Methyl Ethel is the project of Jake Webb that evolves into a five-piece band on the live stage.
Triage has been described as Methyl Ethel’s most spirited, focused and accessible album to date. Consisting of only nine tracks but if full of overwhelming emotion in its 38-minute running time. The production is complicatedly textured, but all those fussed-over details are used to service strong melodies and user-friendly ideas, which fizz and radiate as they bounce off one another.
Who can forget the ARIA Accredited track ‘Ubu’, which finished at #4 on Triple J’s 2017 Hottest 100! 46 million Spotify streams later, the group have received international recognition in the UK and will be touring in the US later this year.
A freezing crowd of Melbourne folk gathered in the warmth setting of Melbourne’s iconic Forum. The crowd was warmed up by international artists Ada Lea and Broncho.
Not long before 10pm, the band appeared below blue lights and through smoke. Greeted by loud clap from the crowd, without hesitation they opened the set with their new track ‘Trip The Mains’.
Throughout the set, Webb preserved his naturally casual demeanour whilst fellow live band members contributed with more movement on the stage. This combination resulted in a noticeably raw presence.
There was not a dull moment during this performance as a loud cheer resulted from every opening riff. ‘Twilight Driving’ was a clear crowd favourite which indicated that there were many early devoted Methyl Ethel fans in the room.
Another number not to go unnoticed was album opener, ‘Ruiner’. This song encouraged a lot of movement with its bouncy rhythm accompanied by a hipster psych pop sound.
As the set was nearing its end, the opening keys of ‘Scream Whole’ started. This is a song that Webb announced was influenced by a friend’s housemate who had dug a hole in their backyard to scream into. “A beautiful release, this idea has always fascinated me” said Webb. “It is a core concept in the song, albeit one I have manipulated for my own means”. To sink into its anxious, arresting melodies of the track is to surrender to a promised catharsis that, cruelly, may never come.
Suddenly, the lights turned yellow which created a haunting feel within the walls of the Forum. Given the time on the clock and the extraordinary set that had already been delivered, the crowd new it was time to say goodbye. However, the set was missing one obvious thing being the very much adored track ‘Ubu’.
Methyl Ethel’s enchanting melodies is an experience you should not miss.
When last speaking to Triple J, Webb revealed that he doesn’t want to go straight into a fourth album. Webb said that he has already opened discussions with his live band mates about opening Methyl Ethel. What could this lead to? Keep your eyes and ears open!
The Australian leg of the tour will finish up at the end of the month in Brisbane.
For more information go to methylethel.com/.