Arcade Fire

Brendan Maclean’s Debut Album ‘And The Boyfriends’ Is A Bold And Brilliant Groove Imaginarium

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Submit your body to the throws of the heartfelt groove kaleidoscope that is Sydney solo artist Brendan Maclean’s stunning and multifaceted debut album, And The Boyfriends.

Ainslie Wills-featuring flagship single ‘Hibernia’ opens the record with furious funk fever, hurling us headlong into Maclean’s sonic imaginarium, which keeps our toes tapping through the slinky basslines of ‘Where’s The Miracle’, drunken retro synth of the wry ‘Not Too Stoned’ and infectious discoteque stylings of ‘Ghost’.

The record was named after a fictional backing band dreamed up by the ARIA-nominated vocalist and media personality (titular ensemble,The Boyfriends), but it’s far more than just a dancefloor reverie.

And The Boyfriends also delivers more than its fair share of emphatic, goosebump-inducing moments, with the crooning soul-pop balladry of tracks like ‘Goes Without Saying’, ‘Tenderness’ and ‘Layer on The Love’ plucking at our heartstrings with their raw and direct lyrical honesty.

Buoyed by the talents of co-writer and producer Sarah Belkner as well as Aussie vocal darlings Wills, Kira Puru, Montaigne, Donny Benét and Paul Mac -- all of whom feature -- Maclean uses his poetic words to paint poignant pictures of greened-out kids in ambulances in the Soho rain and heartbroken lovers hunched over atlases searching for their lost loves across Europe.

The openly queer artist, who was infamously banned by YouTube for his sexually explicit 2015 video ‘House of Air’, is more fearlessly self-reflective here than we’ve ever seen him. Nowhere is this more evident than in percussive disc closer ‘Wolf Run’, which was inspired by Maclean’s own experience with domestic violence and sees him reflect on the failures of his own masculinity. As he explains to Billboard:

“‘And The Boyfriends’ was always about reflecting on and empathising with the women in my life and also the lack of true femininity in myself. I’ve always been ‘camp’ but that’s an affectation not something real and powerful like femininity.

It was this or nothing. It is in some part a concept album if only to keep my mind focussed on the subject. The themes are so heavy and not easy to talk about, but musically captures an energy like nothing I’ve made before, not even close.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

After releasing five EPs, Brendan Maclean’s bold and brilliant debut album And The Boyfriends is out now, and it was worth the wait.

Premiere: Newsteam – Mystify on Debut Cut ‘Anna’

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Yew! Another Central Coast band, another premiere * insert shaka here *

Newsteam are a sextet comprising of Jacob Borg (ex-Jinja Safari), Eli Milojkovic, Scott Wallis, Adam Williams, Pete Sanderson and Benjamin Welch.

Today, Good Intent has the pleasure of offering up the first listen of their stunning debut single ‘Anna’ ahead of its official release tomorrow (Friday, October 26).

Setting the tone with a solid, carefree beat and dreamy ringing of delayed guitar, ‘Anna’ comes to life as the rumbling bass of Milojkovic and croons of Wallis interweave into its charismatic verse.

Shifting in direction, dynamics gently drop as Wallis’ endearing vocal “I am Mystified, Anna, I know, there you go” coasts over the top. Instrumentation continues to step down, as drums and glimmering keys pair to provide the perfect bedding for Wallis’ striking vocals.

‘Anna’ picks up the pace again as it moves through the latter part of the song, eventually building into a gradual crescendo and epic jam-outro, shining a light on the group’s deft approach to songwriting that boasts effortless navigation of builds, drops and transitions.

Drummer and lyricist of the track, Borg, describes the story behind ‘Anna’:

“A couple of years ago I was working down south on a property owned by a friend of my boss at the time. His friend was going through a separation whilst we were there. The ex-partner was still staying there and packing up her belongings and eating dinner with us. The two were all honky dory in front of us but you could sense it wasn't so behind closed doors. It was a weird situation to be in the middle of for a few weeks; we were building new structures for him and she was inside stripping things away…”. 

On top of its enticing melodies and meticulous instrumentation, it’s the subtle intricacies that make ‘Anna’ really shine. With each listen, you discover something new that differentiates from your cookie-cutter indie-rock.

Newsteam, take a bow. You have delivered one of the most impressive debut indie-rock tracks from an Australian artist in 2018.