Split Seconds have finally done it; they’ve gone and released their debut album. After what seems like a sizeable chunk of eternity, the wait is over. The thing about releasing an album that has taken forever is that it will inevitably come under more intense scrutiny (think Stone Roses), but fans of the Perth indie-rock band should fear not - You’ll Turn Into Me is a belter.
Okay, so it hasn’t taken an eternity to arrive, it’s been barely eighteen months since the five-piece’s first EP made our ears want more, and since then the “singing group from North Perth” moved to Melbourne and between the almost constant live shows, knocked up the hallowed first long-player.
In High Fidelity, Nick Hornby describes the best way to make a mix tape: you gotta start with a killer to grab attention, before taking it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you gotta cool it off, and Split Seconds have put that theory to use here. Opener ‘Security Light’ has the right amount of beats, riffage, and frontman Sean Pollard’s intricate and brooding lyrics, which along with the all-in harmonies, are Split Seconds’ strong points. “I go to work, with the ghost of my academic past”… ouch.
Second track, stupidly-catchy single ‘All You Gotta Do’ threatens to blow the wad; if you manage to listen to the chorus without singing along then I’m sorry to tell ya… you have no soul. Have a nice day.
Cooling it off is quaint and folk-y third track ‘Maiden Name,’ a softer piece of songmanship, with lead guitarist Rhys Davies’ delicate riffs being a highlight. Thus far, Nick Hornby’s theory has worked to perfection.
But alas, Hornby can stick his theory up John Cusack’s arse, as fourth track and second single ‘Top Floor’ threatens to blow everything else out of the water; it’s close to being a modern pop masterpiece with its killer harmonies, epic phrasing, and bloke-y, whistling outro. The bridge section of “oh you did it, you stumbled on my button” is bravely chucked into the song early, and works fantastically well; most definitely a highlight of the album.
Next up is ‘Oliver’, which sounds like it could be a McCartney-penned Beatles track, before ‘Fill The Cannons’ reveals itself to be a more downbeat tune, leading into the sentimental love song ‘Amanda’, which Pollard announced at a recent gig is about drummer James’s girlfriend.
Before things get too introspective, ‘She Makes Her Own Clothes’ picks up the pace and returns to pounding rock à la ‘Security Light’, before the one-and-three-quarter minute ‘Some Of Us’ comes as a surprise; its stripped back piano and vocal almost choral in expression, showing the versatility of Pollard’s song-writing.
‘You’ll Turn Into Me’ is a nice way to close out the album, and sees that boy Oliver being mentioned again, like a Hold Steady-esque story running throughout. It finishes with a flourish of Benjamin Golby’s piano; something which threatens to break out over the entire album.
The only way Split Seconds could have improved You’ll Turn Into Me would be to have included ‘Bed Down’ or ‘What A Week’ as a bonus track, but you can’t always get what you want… no you can’t. Surely Perth’s best band right now.
Split Seconds begin a national run of shows on August 25th in Perth, and they play Brisbane’s BIGSOUND festival on 13th September. See http://splitseconds.com.au/ for details.
Paul McBride - AAA Backstage