Start Together's debut and swan song album Founder In Oddity is exactly how it sounds; spanning 32 minutes across six tracks, the album leans into genres that could be defined as post-punk, shoegaze, post-rock, alternative pop and kraut-rock.
From intense gritty, abrasive guitars and galloping rhythm section grooves, to pop hooks reminiscent of 80’s post-punk, diverted through soft and luscious reverb-drenched guitar soundscapes, this album is truly a blissful journey for the avid listener of alternate music.
Side A: The first track ‘Impostering the Nascent’ is a beautiful, shimmering instrumental, and one that may be recognised by local punters, as it frequented Start Together’s live sets over the years. This opening track is followed by ‘Squire Jefferson Care Instructions’ an uplifting post-punk meets alternative pop number, the last chorus of which seems to almost soar towards the end. To close side A, the cutting two-part track “Lookfar” leans intently into 80’s post-punk synthesizer territory, and steers out of it with a repetitive groove analogous to more modern dream-pop/indie bands such as The War On Drugs.
Side B: Once the record is flipped and needle lowered, the unmistakable opening first line “stay convincing, stay certain” of ‘Separate Beds’ sounds out. Somewhat reminiscent of New Order, the track is brimming with a vivacious energy from beginning to end, matched with a charmingly frank, understated vocal delivery. ‘Skeptics’, an impressively delivered shoegaze instrumental then follows, invoking the listener on a dream-like journey, with a sense of purpose and curious energy. Closing the album is the title-track, ‘Founder in Oddity’. Boasting a track length of 8 minutes, it is an obscure, kraut-rock expedition where Start Together demonstrate their talent for creating unique and dynamic guitar-wonder soundscapes, with the repeated chord progression in the outro invoking the feeling of a tape skipping and playing the same phrase over and over.
For many years, Start Together played a vibrant and energetic part of the Brisbane post-punk/shoegaze scene, and this album release is a bittersweet goodbye.
Start Together formed towards the end of 2017 at drummer James’ house up at Mt Glorious, the band quickly took their stride and gained attention within the Meanjin (Brisbane) post-punk/shoegaze community. Within a few months, Start Together gained their reputation for their stunning guitar-driven soundscapes and energetic live performances, which saw them play on local festival line-ups such as Against The Grain, and play in support of local big hitters, including Sweater Curse and Hatchie.
Earlier single releases including ‘Being Born’, ‘Az Nem Varhat’ and ‘9617 Graham Chapman’, scooped up plenty of attention for the band locally on community radio, as well as overseas, via online music blogs and airplay on BBC Radio 6. The music video release for ‘9617 Graham Chapman’ saw the band collaborate with visual artist Tessa Rex, whose icy-bleak landscapes captured in Yukon, Canada, were paired perfectly against the beautiful and reflective track. The music video for ‘Az Nem Verhat’ was where the band formed a creative bond with local filmmaker Angus Kirby, who then collaborated with the band on their recent music video releases for ‘Separate Beds’ and ‘Skeptics’.
These earlier releases ramped up the pace for the band to record a full-length album, the process of which first began in 2019. “The recording process was a battle between expectations and the reality of what the songs sounded like”, reflects Malahoff. “We searched for a long time to represent what we felt when playing the songs in the recordings. This led to numerous re-mixes, 4 times from the ground up, and re-recordings with different approaches. The final recording is one of feeling, not efficiency. It’s something that can only be achieved through a huge budget or an audio engineer who is willing to work out of love of the songs. I’m proud of what I was able to achieve with my skill set at the time being very new to recording and mixing music.”
Total playing time: 31:11
format: vinyl, digital