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Anthony Carew

Free Music Monday: Lost Animal "Say No To Thugs"

By November 19, 2012

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A year ago, I put Lost Animal's Ex-Tropical on a list of 2011's Best Overlooked/Underrated Albums. Now, in 2013, Sub Pop sister label Hardly Art is planning on shining a bit of extra light on an album that's, thus far, largely unknown outside Australia.

It's the work of Jarrod Quarrell, a Melbourne music scene lifer who'd previously fronted the New Season and St. Helens, both of whom played an iteration on rock'n'roll; the former blusier and more stripped-down, the latter wilder and more psychedelic. Starting Lost Animal as a bedroom project, he wanted to incorporate all manner of other influences into his music; not just in terms of more experimental or pop-like sounds, but in the childhood memories he from spending two years of his childhood living in Papua New Guinea.

Ex-Tropical is, as its title attests, awash in half-remembered tropicalism; all watery synths, sub-aqueous basslines, half-melted melodicas, glinting marimbas. "Say No To Thugs" has all of that; sounding verily soaked with sweat; a tune in which things threaten to go out of tune due to the humidity. But the nasty, sneering swagger Quarrell perfect through a decade plus of rockbands is still here; the world-weary voice of his adulthood set against the blissed-out tropicalism drawn up from his childhood.

"Say No To Thugs"' title contrasts with the fact that its wobbly, wonky funk contains a sweet sentiment; of sticking it out in a relationship, standing together in hoping things get better. Here, the waves aren't off tropical beaches or even nostalgia, but waves of sadness, waves of criticsm, the waves of the world outside a relationship. "Never get lessons in love from an angry man," Quarrell sings; and, here, for once, he is not that angry man. "Don't sweat the little things, love," he adds, in a song that reads like four-minutes of good advice. Photo Max Doyle

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