METHYL ETHEL – ” Neon Cheap “

Posted: December 25, 2022 in MUSIC

Jake Webb’s ghosts are far more than mere spectres. On the Perth art-pop polymath’s fourth album a former lover – played by Stella Donnelly – demands recognition on ‘Proof’, the planet’s plight intrudes on ‘Something to Worry About’, while ‘Neon Cheap’ suggests the seductively sharp edge of social media.

A standout from Methyl Ethel’s latest album, ‘Proof’ has all the elements of an infectious pop song: a dazzling hook, a hypnotic groove, the right kind of dynamics to keep the song interesting. But it’s the tension between the song’s propulsive strings and the call-and-response vocals from Jake Webb and Stella Donnelly that take the song to the next level, raising more questions than it answers. A sense of political urgency is woven right into the titular line, “Take a chance on proof,” but the actual subject of the track remains ambiguous.

“What can you see?” asks Donnelly with calm persistence, and Webb’s evasive responses hint at ignorance, disorientation, and ultimately even delusion. As it blooms into something dreamlike and theatrical, their voices almost angelically merge into one before getting warbled down, more vulnerable and human than ever amidst the chaos.

With an eclectic palette of jagged synths and jinking rhythms, these songs are invocations that pivot between clarity and confusion so that they form their own reality. Dispensing with boundaries, Webb makes the unknown tactile. He’s called the album his “least personal record yet”, but these spirits bear his distinct fingerprints at every turn.

“Neon Cheap” out now:

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