Beef Jerk

Tragic

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The Sydney, Australia band Beef Jerk don't do much of anything too fancy on their debut album Tragic. Their jangling, slashing guitars are unadorned by flashy solos, the vocals are very bloke-next-door, and the rhythm section keeps it very simple throughout. The lyrics revolve around the day-to-day issues of life, love, and the frustrations that are part and parcel of both, sung with nonchalant passion by guitarist Jack Lee. It's a very Australia circa mid-2010s sound, done by enough bands that it even has a name, dolecore. Beef Jerk do it better than just about anyone. The simplicity of their songs is matched by the cleverness of the words, the spareness of the sound is boosted by the energy with which the band chugs and bounces through the album, and the overall feel is that of a really good band pulling no punches and delivering the truth in catchy little nuggets of poppy noise. It's a formula that's worked since the early days of pop music, especially in the post-punk era that Beef Jerk conjure up most clearly. There are bits of the Scientists' early pop songs here, traces of early Go-Betweens in the angular hooks, some Postcard Records in the unerring twang and jangle of the guitars, and plenty of scrappy D.I.Y. attitude everywhere. The band pull all these strands into a tight ball of sound and deliver a brace of classic-sounding indie rock. Hotwired racks like "Reissue" and "Rhythm Infection" sound familiar and fresh at once, jumping out of the speakers with feverish power. More melodic tunes like "Another Drop" and "Move Into the Ocean" have a sweetness just below the surface that balances the sometimes gruff nature of the rest of the record. Tragic is a very strong debut by a band in full control of their sound, with an exceedingly confident approach and enough top-rate songs to make it sound more like a greatest hits than a first record.

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