Posts Tagged ‘The Shifters’

The Shifters in Paris

Melbourne’s The Shifters are quite possibly my current favourite purveyors of your guitar-based rock-and-or-roll,” commented Captured Tracks label head Mike Sniper upon its release. “In fact, they come from the best scene of that genre, the one in mullet-ravaged young Australia”.

“Left Bereft” sounds like it could be set in a post apocalyptic world or today. According to the band it’s “an overly simplified rabble-rouser that people who maybe use English as a second or third language can understand and maybe feel a bit of solidarity. I like to imagine drunk students in France listening to it whilst wrestling on the kitchen table.” Their Fall-ism’s abound here, but it’s so good (and Mark’s gone) that I’m just happy there’s band doing similar stuff at such a top level quality while putting their own stamp on it.

Back in March, the band released a 26-track rarities collection titled ‘Open Vault’ comprised of unreleased studio material, early demos, live renditions and solo home recordings from between 2016 and 2019. The collection also features covers of songs by Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Ray Davies and Death in June.

 Melbourne, Australia. The Shifters released a new 7″ vinyl single – ‘Left Bereft’ – via New York label Captured Tracks.

After two 7-inch singles and a demo cassette (recently pressed to wax), Melbourne quintet The Shifters finally unveil their first full-length album “Have a Cunning Plan”.

Recorded at Al Montfort (of Total Control/Terry)’s home studio, “Have A Cunning Plan” ups the fidelity a bit, tempering the up-front crunch of their previous demo/LP. The sonic space suits the band, allowing the unpretentious complexity of the songs & lyrics to generate the “oomph” rather than bludgeoning the listener with treble and feedback.

The album showcases ten new tracks by the band at their best; scrappy, self-destructive, stumbling and brilliant pop music that seems tossed off or nonchalant on the surface but is rife with rewards upon further listening. Early album bangers like “Molasses” and the first single “Work/Life, Gym Etc” are instant earworms, (as are “Straight Lines” & “Pyramid Scheme”, the latter reworked from a recent 7-inch) but it’s the simple-yet-sophisticated songcraft of tunes like “How Long?” or the languid strum of “Andrew Bolt” that are heavy on mood and are vehicles for vocalist/guitarist Miles Jansen’s erudite lyrics that simultaneously celebrate and decry the banality of life, while also tackling larger issues of colonialism conservatism’s effects on society at large.


Released July 2nd, 2018

Miles Jansen – vocals, guitar, melodica
Tristan Davies – bass, guitar, melodica
Louise Russell – keyboards, vocals
Ryan Coffey – drums, vocals
Chris Gray – guitar bass

Melbourne’s The Shifters finally follow up their cassette from a couple years back with this slightly more melodic but no less urgent single. They still sound steeped in early Fall dashed with bits of psychedelia. Based in Melbourne Australia’s The Shifters have been making a really impressive noise over the last couple of years, still in their infancy but growing stronger with each gig they do, the band have grown to become one of more interesting new groups to emerge from Melbourne’s Underground in recent years.
The group’s debut 7″ Creggan Shops impressed me with its monotone sleeve and scratchy guitar punk genius.

Market Square Recordings are proud to be releasing the band’s second 7″  A Believer b/w Contrast of Form.
Both sides combine great DIY art punk of the highest calibre.

A Believer starts proceedings with rhythmic drum work very reminiscent to Television Personalities 1988 single “How I Learned To Love The Bomb” a steady tribal beat opening way to a mesmerising chord and fender jaguar laden hook. The track also has a very Fall-esque vibe about it, with the way the organ flows through the track…. but ultimately this is The Shifters in their most snotty art-punk best, the song is poppy, its catchy and its the sound of a great new talent.


The b-side Contrast of Form is basically a trademark sound for this band, this in my opinion is some of the most perfect outsider pop happening in the world right now, the song takes us on a journey explaining the story of a weirdo artist and his ambitions to be a “real” artist and also to possibly “take flight” the song is open to interpretation, thats what’s so cool about this song.

Musically The Shifters follow in a similar course forged by their Antipodian brothers from the early 80s NZ underground scene, groups of which came out of the embryonic Flying Nun Records catalogue, bands like the Stones, The Clean and The Bats… in-fact Contrast of Form is the closest I’ve heard a recent band capture the Dunedin sound without even trying…. there must be something cool in the water down-under??

This two-sided art-punk killer 7″ by Melbourne Australia’s fantastic scratchy guitar heroes The Shifters is available now.