Album review – The Lazys – Tropical Hazards
By STEVE MASCORD
THE video for “Nothing But Trouble” should be enough to tell you this is something special from the Central Coast boys. Blazing guitars, a howling vocalist, bread and fruit flying.
But the Lazys have always been able to record astonishing songs – “Shake It Like You Mean It”, “All Fired Up”, “Howling Woman”. A ball-crushing single did not necessarily indicate Tropical Hazards would be a great album.
We live in an era where there is no patience for new bands to develop, particularly rock bands, and these boys have been around for a decade.
At least that’s what people like to say. But that patience used to be provided by major labels and now those labels have little or no involvement in genre so, though a perverse process which has seen rock recede from the mainstream, the patience is back.
The turning point for the Lazys was going to Canada and working with members of Billy Talent. If you weren’t into canuk rock, you might think that’s a management firm – and that’s actually what the band’s Ian D’Sa has provided for the Lazys: career development.
The filler’s gone.
Second up is “Little Miss Crazy”, all taut and trim, pure gnarling urban hard rock. “Picture Thieves” cracks along at a nice pace as it addresses the evils of social media, “Half Mast Blues” describes(what else?) erectile dysfunction.
There are definite echoes of Grinspoon here with soaring choruses and unmistakeable Antipodean accents. The reflective and largely acoustic “Young Modern Lightning” could easily be Phil Jamieson’s crew, or even silverchair (or is that just the title that makes me think that?).
We have the obligatory semi-punk-rock drinking song (“One’s Too Many”), the low-slung partier (“Louder The Youth”). This isn’t AC/DC, it isn’t the Hoodoo Gurus, the Screaming Jets, The Angels or the Choirboys but there are echoes of all of them. “Somebody’s Daughter” is the sort of song you hope still strikes a chord with millennials the way it does with us, exploring the missing indigenous children in Australia and Canada. Does this way of delivering music – a plaintive chorus, key changes, a melody that links the start with the end – still convey emotion the way it used to?
Or have the reference points of young listeners moved so far from what we recognise?
“Can’t Kill The Truth” is a rowdy pub rocker like some of the lesser album tracks and b-sides from earlier in the band’s career – but much better.
Closer “Take Back The Town” evokes the finest Australian rock of the last 25 years – The Living End with slightly rounded edges, extolling the virtues of fighting authorities who turn cities into nocturnal ghost towns and keeping “the scene alive”.
The Lazys have arrived creatively, rewriting the template for Aussie pub rock in 2018. It’s our album of the year so far and it will take some beating.