“Hey mate, so I heard you played a little guitar and toured back in the day, yeah?”
“Nah yeah, those days are long gone! Now I’m rockin’ out with my students’ curriculum, you know what I mean?”
“Ah yeah, right on! Hey, you fancy getting together a little rock and roll action after a bite this Saturday avo? I play a mean bass!”
This is a perceived conversational exchange that took place in my head between two high school teachers in Queensland, thus giving birth to the band Poison Oak. Whether it’s true or not is questioned by the band themselves. And in case you’re wondering, no they’re not an 80’s glam rock cover band. Far from it, in fact.
James and Russell, teacher lounge room buddies, decided that 2019 would be the year to begin a band. Ray, Lachlan and Chris soon followed suit and began to plan their rapid takeover of the Aussie airwaves! Then Covid hit… Was this the end?
Yes. Yes it was.
But only of their shows actually! While everyone around the world either gains pounds (kilos) by lounging around in the PJs or spending their time renovating their backyards during lockdown, Poison Oak didn’t stop their spread. You can hear them rocking out in the suburban garages of Townsville on Saturday mornings, waiting for the pandemic’s end and for school holidays to align in an epic fashion allowing them to take their show on the road! In the meantime, they’re releasing a new single to whet our appetites for some itchy, contagious sounds of their new album 1996.
What can we say about their new single? “Waiting” hooks you in on the initial listen. Why? While many acts seem to rid any traces of accents and “Americanize” their sound, Poison Oak wholly embraces and nakedly exposes their northern Australian accent with its softly strummed guitar and opening lyrics of “So I catch the train at 6am, to find myself thinking back, to all the times…”
Once the drums kick in followed by the bass and killer backing vocals, it reveals itself to be a 50’s doo-wop ditty. Or is it a 60’s garage rock song? Or perhaps a new-wave 80’s riff minus the synths? Or a 2000’s post-punk revival sound? The thing about “Waiting” is that it brings in elements of many eras and gives it a nice Australian twist to please your ears during this crazy Covid year! A song of love, regret and heartache is what we’ve become all too familiar with in this year of 2020…
If “Waiting” sets the stage for their new catch-a-riffic EP, we can’t wait to hear what they have in store with the rest of the album. But for now, they’ll keep us Waiting for 1996!
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