Once Heard Methyl Ethel Are Never Forgotten!
My reasons for choosing to this album may be a little strange to some, but I just love the name of the band. How could you not be interested in a band called Methyl Ethyl?
This lot are from Perth in Western Australia. Methyl Ethyl’s mastermind and founder is Jake Webb, in their early days the band was effectively just Jake. But to become a touring band the personnel was expanded to include Chris Wright on drums and Thom Stewart on bass. Webb claims to have received his first insights into music from his parent’s cassette collection which ranged through The Beatles, Del Shannon, the Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson and doo wop. I can also hear a lot of 80s influences including Altered Images and The Human League.
In fact album opener “Drink Wine” comes across initially as a Human League homage musically, however the vocals are far better than some of the idiosyncratic singing of Phil Oakey. For me there is also a very 80s feel with “Ubu” but it also plants a very large footprint in the 21st Century as well. The lyrics on "Everything Is Forgotten" are mostly very clever, very deep and never dull. “L'Heure Des Sorcieres” is in possession of a magnificent driving beat with a lyrical refrain ("I am an actor baby") that hooks you in and simply won't let you go. If there is such a thing as an androgynous vocal then Jake Webb is the owner of it. The best showcase for that dreamlike and haunting singing voice is perhaps “Hyakki Yakō”. That track and “Summer Moon” evoke later period Depeche Mode without the rougher sound that Dave Gahan’s voice developed.
“No 28” is the lead single from the album and it was unleashed on the world last year. All I can say about this song is wow! Well actually I can say a bit more and I will; this lot have eclectic music taste judging on the influences that I think I am hearing on “No 28” alone. I am getting a hint of Sparks on this along with a pinch of Edwyn Jones in his Orange Juice days. But this does not distract from Methyl Ethel being a very original band in their own right. “Femme Maison/ One Man House” is one of the many songs on this record that eat away at your brain like the best earworms and stick there for hours, on top of that there are some well thought through lyrics on this record. I particularly love this song for both those reasons. The over the top dramatic noise fest ending actually works really well too. This is without doubt a classic pop album and one that I know I will listen to many times.