Various Artists – Banter: A Candle Records Compilation

Various Artists
Banter: A Candle Records Compilation

Australian indie pop isn’t my forte, but I feel significantly better fortified in its offerings after listening to this compilation from Australian label Candle Records. These are 22 songs from 11 Australian bands that all play indie pop, bouncy, hook-laden stuff that is both infectious and fun. Some of these bands are downright amazing, but others are simply good.
The Lucksmiths are definitely the stand-out band here, and their song, “T-Shirt Weather,” is just plain perfect indie pop, with some great bass and catchy vocals. This one will have you singing along for days. “Tmrw vs Y’day” isn’t quite as good but still a fun pop song with a Belle & Sebastian feel to it.
The Dearhunters have a definite Red House Painters feel on “Ambulance,” a slower but very nice folk-inspired pop song. “Candle” is a bit different, with female singers over a very folk-sounding guitar. Darren Hanlon‘s two songs are very quiet and simple, little more than his voice and acoustic guitar, but fans of Belle & Sebastian again will enjoy his songs, especially the more up-beat “Beta Losers,” which adds female vocals. The Mabels‘ two songs are slower indie pop numbers, not really standouts but quite nice and well flowing, especially “Tullamarine,” which reminds me of The Fly Seville.
Golden Rough don’t do much for me. Their songs are innocuous but not especially unique, although I like the piano on “The Girl Who Loved Bridges” (I knew a girl like that). The two female vocalists lend Greenkeeper‘s songs an interest effect, although the music doesn’t wow me beyond the use of soft violin. But then Ruck Rover come back with some nice pop songs, like the infectious and slightly folk “Burnt Out.” I know I must have heard Richard Easton‘s “Token Free,” which is subtle but strangely endearing. And he kicks up the rock on “Free As A Bird” for an interesting change of pace on the album.
Fibrotown get all country on “Country Girl Gone Wrong,” which puts me off a bit, although “Saddest Boy” is better. But Weave get back to the pop with some slightly quirky, boy-girl at the same time vocals and a fun, slightly groovy and bouncy beat. “The Apocalyptic Love Song” is especially fun, and it reminds me a bit of Barenaked Ladies. Stella One Eleven finish things off with some more sultry, groovy songs, especially “Relative Madness,” while “Three Nights and Three Days” sounds a bit retro, 50’s style.
All in all, 11 good bands, some better than others. It’s not the most ground-breaking music you’ll hear, but it’s really a good comp. that will have you bopping and humming along all day, guaranteed or your money back, boomerang style.