Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
The fourth full-length record by Australian indie pop quartet Terry comes with its own itinerary conveniently printed on its sleeve. Call Me Terry’s cover artwork pulls double duty as its liner notes, contextualizing each track’s handwritten lyrics with a photograph of a building or landscape, its address, and its history. This is no leisurely jaunt across the continent however. The band’s latest work is a guided tour of Australia’s most notorious hotbeds of corruption and greed, from the Southbank offices of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to the Melbourne Club—an elite, male-only organization once known for its influence on Liberal Party leadership.
Something of a Melbourne supergroup themselves, Terry’s four members hail from some of the city’s most beloved post-punk acts, like Total Control, Dick Diver, and The UV Race. Call Me Terry is their first LP since 2018’s I’m Terry, but much of its content was written and developed pre-pandemic or in isolation during early lockdown. The aesthetic remains largely consistent with their previous discography, favoring bone-dry production, drier wit, and sing-song harmonies, but the band’s political focus is sharpened and supplemented by chamber pop arrangements. Early single “Gronks” prances along on tom drum thumps and jagged guitar riffs, juxtaposed with warm brass, and flourishes of synthesizer. Even with this additional instrumentation, however, Terry still sounds as intimate as ever.
“Miracles” opens the record in Sutherland’s Horizon Church, the Pentecostal congregation most notably attended by former Liberal Party prime minister Scott Morrison, who rose to power in 2019 on the strength of what he called a “miracle” election. A nasty tangle of dissonant strings set the stage atop lumbering low-end. “Miracle madness in the furnace. Said I’d burn for you,” sings the band, as a backdrop of drones flicker and spit. “Gold Duck,” which sets mining company BHP in its sights, sounds nearly as deranged, with strange, carnivalesque synths ambling through each chorus.
Hewn from the same shambolic rock as The Go-Betweens and The Bats, you might not realize just how caustic Terry can be on a first listen. Luckily, they’ve made it almost impossible to listen to their latest record without the lyrics printed right under your nose. Even when you’re being lulled by its occasionally cozy post-punk songcraft, Call Me Terry is never without its undercurrent of righteous anger.