(Melbourne, Australia /// Goner/ Aarght Records)
AUSMUTEANTS started life in late 2011 in Geelong by Jake Robertson and Billy Gardner. Both had been playing since teenagers in trad garage bands The Frowning Clouds (Jake) and The Living Eyes (Billy). Being good looking rebels who play by their own rules, they soon cracked the shits, broke loose with just a synth and drums and in early 2012, knocked out the Split Personalities tape. By the time that was out they’d added Melbourne loose-unit Marc Dean on bass, and soon after, ex-Canberran hardcore non-guitarist Shaun Connor on guitar.
Their second album Amusements (note: not self-titled) came from this fledgling time as a full band, with a heavy dose of the duo’s songs. Since the runaway international success of that record and playing every second weekend in Melbourne, they’re rocked-out full-tilt with all four members writing and singing new songs. 23 of these were recorded live with vocal overdubs in the basement of an old Geelong ice cream factory by Mikey Young, then mixed and mastered in his idyllic coastal abode. Again the band and their Australian label Aarght Records strained the friendship with song picks, agreeing on 13 to make up Order of Operation.
This record is better than Amusements any way you cut it: songs, lyrics, delivery and sound. The album opens up with Shaun’s forehead- and thigh-slapping musical and lyrical debut, Freedom of Information. His girlfriend suffers the indignity with panache. From there, songs range from balls to the wall punkers (Felix Tried to Kill Himself; Boiling Point), well-considered workouts (Family Time; Tunnel Vision) and unguarded tenderness (Wrong; Looney Bin; Depersonalisation).
It’s not just the band and label singing the album’s praises; it’s the people who couldn’t stand their juvenile bullshit before. They’ve ditched the toilet humour, gotten nasty and written songs about other people’s problems, terrible bands, fighting crime and trading sex for porn. Mikey after a vocal take: “You deserve to be bashed for that” (the song’s on the record; you guess which one).
Order of Operation is now their defining moment. If you don’t like this record, you pretty much won’t ever like Ausmuteants.