In an electronic landscape littered with similar sounding tracks and beige Flume imitators, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. But you can quickly confiscate any lazy judgments upon the first spin of Problems’ newly released EP, For The Ages.
There are hints of influences from acts of similar genres, though Problems (South Australian muso/producer Justin Walkden and vocalist Shane Lock) delves deeper into worldly electronica and indie rhythms instead of cashing in on popular tunes of the moment.
Amongst Problems’ prior releases is ‘Capture Me’, reviewed by this very blog in mid-December last year. It sits well amongst the newer tracks, complimenting the fresh feel of the record.
Debut single ‘Bruised’ sees vocalist Lock groan over a bass guitar and manages to catch you off guard with the high-pitch “selfish cool” refrain. ‘Alighted’ is majestically light and balearic. Unpredictable but succinct, the hazy vocals are complimented by soft clicks and a mourning violin.
Similarities can be drawn with Cut Copy in ‘Terraces’ where the harmony and beat are properly calculated. In fact, I would suggest the Australian band is an inspiration of Walkden, given the neon immersion that occurs in most of the seven tracks. On the flipside ‘Coloured Heart’ is distinctly tepid and errs on a very soft side of trap music, not unlike Van She on an acid trip. ‘Self Rewards’ is just a U-Turn away from becoming a fully fledged urban groove.
Lock’s vocal talent is outstanding. His chameleon-like ability ensures each song sounds like there’s a different singer laying down the words. His voice is extremely emotive whether staggering or yearning over the lyrics.
Incredibly intimate, and at times sparse, Problems describe their EP as an “emotive experience through past lives, present relationships and future experiences, a journey that is only just beginning…”.
The closing track is a near-perfect house party tune in ‘For The Ages’. I’m calling it The Beach Boys’ ‘Kokomo’ of our generation given its flourishing, tribal outlook. But don’t just have this track on loop until the neighbours call the cops, hit repeat on the entire disk. Hear something old; discover something new and the beginnings of something great. Listening to Problems can easily dissolve your own.
You can check out Problems playing his EP launch shows this month, in the following cities:
Saturday, May 3 – Plus One at Rhino Room, Adelaide
Thursday, May 22 – Sailor Jerry presents Meow! at Easy Tiger, Sydney
Saturday, May 31 – Mirador Records party at ALIA Arthouse, Melbourne
You can download For The Ages EP from Mirador Records – it’s just $6 for a digital copy, or $10 for digital and physical copy. That’s less than $1 per track, a quarter of the price of a decent coffee if we are to believe life insurance TV commercials!