Tetsuians crafted an intriguing body of work with their eponymous debut album, with an intelligent knack for song craft and thoughtful, surreal lyricism that drew comparisons to 13th Floor Elevators and The Replacements.
Last month saw the band release their single Pack a Little Bag, a song that hinted at a punchier sophomore effort. The new album, Elephant Hexagon may have abandoned the lo-fi experimentation and retro-gazing rock ’n’ roll of its predecessor, but the song writing appears as strong as ever. The band takes us through their album track by track.
Halo – Not to be confused with Beyonce’s Halo, Boston Manor’s Halo or Halo the video game. Man, that’s a lot of Halo’s right? Anyway, the song deals with the kind of cognitive bias which guides our overall impression of a person – like “oh they seems nice”, when they’re actually secretly plotting your demise. It’s the only track on the album with a middle 8 drum freak out from Andy and we chose to open with it… Yep, we bet it all on black!
Pack a Little Bag – In a world of stress and anxiety about being or looking a certain way to fit in, the pressures of consumerism and social status we have a few choices to make. Do we accept happiness in simpler, less materialistic life or rush for a temporary release – a feel-good chemical in the brain? Anyway, we thought it was pretty catchy! Check out the Wes Anderson-inspired video below directed by our good friend Jenni Townsend…
Bloody Chieftain – This seems a world away since we recorded it as our lead single back in August. We were kind of hoping Trump might get re-elected just so we could get some more mileage out of it as a protest song. Who knows, now that we’ve revealed our cynicism people might just buy the album just to burn copies! Worked for the Beatles…
Makes No Sound – This is a really old track which we dusted off and gave it a birthday. It used to have a Latin flavour, but we decided to make it more angular with Amber providing some nifty bass licks. We didn’t know how to end it so bolted on a Cult-style riff and presto!
Elephant Hexagon – The title track. What’s it about? Well we’re not really sure ourselves. Is it an elephant in a room with lots of corners, or a song about professional ice-skaters? Why don’t you decide and make it sound cooler than it is! Okay, it’s actually a nod to the Elephant 6 recording Company. We once got a disparaging review that compared us to acts on that label. We don’t know why it took that angle coz we really love the bands on Elephant 6. Some are still going in some form or another such as the High Water Marks – definitely worth checking out.
Unsung – Another song which we’ve had for a while but never recorded. Another sick bassline from Amber and some awesome drumming from Andy. Trent actually asked if he could play a similar beat to ‘Blindness’ by the Fall. Andy said he didn’t know it so we settled on something close to ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder. After reading Mark E. Smith’s biography it turns out he had the same idea, so we guess we’re kinda borrowing borrowed property. Wonder if we can get something for it at Cash Converters???
Running Through – Okay we’ve kept things a little light, but there are some darker tones to the album such as mental health. Being denied intervention forces people to cope alone, or simply not engage with therapy. The song acts like a current that we hope might help people reconnect and see things from a different perspective. Musically the track draws influences from Sleater-Kinney’s The Hot Rock. A massively underrated album.
Sexpionage – Another track which didn’t make the first album. Amber took over singing duties and re-wrote it in a different key. We’re glad she did coz she did a phenomenal job! What’s it about? Well it’s actually an historically documented phenomenon that the CIA and KGB used to elicit information from the opposition. We thought it was a pretty good allegory for relationships in their early stages. For more info check out Nigel West’s work the ‘Historical Dictionary of Sexpionage’
If You Thought – Another one we dusted off the shelf. Andy re-jigged the drum beat and we added a 12-string for a bit of chime! Probably the slowest track on the album, but it helps balance it out – like a good book propping up a table. So if Joanna randomly selects a book, puts it back on the shelf, and selects another book. What is the probability that Joanna selects two math books? If you can answer that, you should be in Mensa!
Bring You Home – Okay so this track does literally bring the album home, but it paints a journey from defence force recruitment through to discharging. It’s not a war anthem by any stretch, but acknowledges sacrifices made by defence force personnel. The lack of support received during and especially after service highlights how a few days of public gratitude each year really doesn’t provide the appropriate assistance that’s desperately needed.
Compiled By Rob Lyon