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Methyl Ethel | Triage | Album Review

4AD
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Australian indie rock trio Methyl Ethel return for their third full-length release, Triage, honing their particular strain of psych rock and dream pop and producing what’s easily their tightest and most refined record to date.

What shines through the most on Triage is the instrumental tones, each of which keep a consistent theme throughout the record but still with enough variation such that each song can intrigue listeners. For example, the tracks “Ruiner” and “Trip the Mains” both feature somewhat similar synthesizer tones; the first offering a broad, spacious electric piano-like patch, whereas the second is a glossy lead played in tandem with a guitar melody.

They’re both different enough, but this attention to detail gives the former track a more open and optimistic tone, whereas the latter is a bit funkier and driving. This allows the whole record to have a cohesive property that Methyl Ethel has strived for but falls somewhat short of on previous records.

The vocals take on a significant role in the record as well with front man Jake Webb showcasing his unique and even somewhat androgynous vocal timbre that adds to the offbeat pop sound developed on the record. The lyrical content is romantic and genuine, utilizing metaphors with lyrics like, “I got a voltage that’s running high / I can barely close my eyes,” from the aforementioned “Trip the Mains.” The track “What About the 37º?” similarly uses heat as a theme throughout the song. There are times where the lyrics do seem a bit too simple, coming through as just non-specific emotional pop ballads. This is somewhat in tandem with the cohesiveness of the record though, and all tracks are still performed impeccably.

Methyl Ethel fully realizes their characteristic brand of indie pop on Triage, serving as a highlight of the group’s material thus far.

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