Album Review: Methyl Ethel – Triage (2019 LP)

Triage, the third album from Methyl Ethel isn’t coincidentally named. Celebrating three albums, and lead singer Jake Webb’s 30th birthday, the album is a memorial and the capstone on a phase in the band’s journey. Whether that implies Methyl Ethel will be taking a different direction after this, we’re not sure. But what is constant right now are the chaotic, dream pop sounds of the latest album.

Truly a solo project celebrating history, birthdays, and indie rock; Triage was written, produced and performed by lead singer Jake Webb in his home studio in West Perth. Marta Salogni might have provided assistance in mixing from London, but the raw materials of this album were made the way Webb has been known to work: quite insular and solo.

“Ruiner” is a solid overture to kick off the nine track album. Webb’s vocals puncturing the music with each interval and consonant over the top of a spooky crypt-party crescendo before pulling back to softer keys. The rise and fall of the song is both soothing and exciting.

“Scream Whole” is by no means a lull compared to “Ruiner”, if not simply a different track. Clapping and percussion support a calypso-esque keyboard, which helps to create a surreal platform for Webb’s layered vocals and harmonies. Released prior to the album, and having already garnered plenty of acclaim, the beautiful and coy lyrics hint at that vague something we’re all looking for but can’t quite hold it in our hand.

“Trip The Mains” really brings out a nostalgic 80’s inspired beat. That paired with the earlier released “Real Tight”, are the closest the album teeters toward pop, leaving it up to the rest of the album to carry on the dream wave. Triage’s closer seems like the perfect song to be sung to a huge festival crowd; the crowd swaying, phones and lighters in hand to light up the night. “No Fighting” is the best ending to an album that celebrates new beginnings.

Methyl Ethel have consistently released an album every two years. Though Webb works best solo, he will be touring with the band in 2019, no doubt championing “Ubu”, the single that peaked at #4 in 2017’s Triple J’s Hottest 100 , as well as celebrating the latest album Triage. If the trend line is a constant, then here’s to seeing what Jake Webb and Methyl Ethel can bring to life in 2021.

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Triage is available now through 4AD & Dot Dash. The band will be heading out on the road in the US in March, and then Europe and Australia in June. For more information and to purchase tickets head HERE.

Methyl Ethel 2019 Australian Tour Dates

June 15th: The Astor Theatre, Perth WA
June 21st: The Forum, Melbourne VIC
June 22nd: The Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
June 27th: The Gov, Adelaide SA
June 28th: The Triffid, Brisbane QLD

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