The press release for Intercooler’s third album, Time To Let Go has hints of political expression. They’re embracing the past. They’re looking bravely forward. Perhaps all that’s left is to wear a hard-hat and kiss a baby?
Intercooler have undergone one heck of a line up change. Out with the old drummer, Damon Cox who is too busy being one half of An Horse these days and in with the reinstatement of the group’s previous guitarist, Michael Caso. Mainstays Phil Ballantyne and Joel Potter are joined by Graham Trewin (Peabody) on drums and singer-songwriter, Chrissie Trabucco who offers vocals, guitar and keyboards. The change seems a natural progression and does little to change the group’s penchant for bashing out an indie pop song or 11 and whether this lark lasts forever or whatever the fact is it’s pretty darned feel good.
Time To Let Go calls to mind the sunny tunes of fellow Queenslanders, The Boat People and Yves Klein Blue. Intercooler started as a group in Brisbane and produced the albums, Old School Is The New School and Forever Or Whatever but these days they call the four-seasons-in-one-day city of Melbourne home. Their music – despite surroundings – remains shiny with the songs here conjuring up images of a balmy day at the beach, ice-creams melting in your hand; blue saltwater glistening under a cloudless sky; and sand in between your toes.
“Good Morning” shows life is just peachy with some Beatlesque melodies and a space-age vibe. If you crossed Dappled Cities’ Zounds with Cliff Richard’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” this is what you’d get. The out-of-this-world sensation continues into “Ready,” a hazy slice of jangly pop that is catchy thanks to its frequent use of “woahs” and “yeahs”. It has an old, familiar mood like Little Red and feels as good as your favourite, well-worn jumper as Ballantyne is like the Pied Piper proclaiming: “I’m letting the simple follow me”.
Like most of the songs on this album, the title track has a sixties tinge but combines this with a modern twist. This one starts off like a piano ballad before skittering off into a crisp and theatric number full of the retro throwbacks typically found in Deep Sea Arcade’s music. Similarly, “Trumpet Song” borrows things form a songbook by The Velvet Underground but it also has the brassy and nautical air of Split Enz’s “Six Months In A Leaky Boat”. And that’s before the group go off and steal some of Hendrix’s guitar sounds on “It Happened In May”.
The LP’s first single, “War & Peace” started with Trabucco playing her vintage guitar in her bedroom. It underwent a few changes and Big Scary could cover the finished product with ease. Thankfully, the band admits that it still retains the driving charm that the original had and it also includes some gorgeous lead vocals. These feminine sounds prove a refreshing diversion because the remainder of the cuts are led by Ballantyne whose tones can sit anywhere along the scale of harmonious and pleasant to plain androgynous, although in “I Don’t Wanna” they also seem rather whiny. “Packin’ For Paris” also boasts some great vocal work with some smile-inducing acrobatics reaching up for the sky making the effort sound like it was made by a sixties vocal group. Nice.
It should come as no surprise that Ballantyne loves pop music because his band along with producer, Magoo have created eleven lush and gorgeous tracks that have been polished to within an inch of their lives. It would be a good experiment to hear this lot coming from an old, battered radio because this would and could not dampen the collection’s overall feelings of rosy optimism. On Time To Let Go the tracks are out of this world and swirl and straddle the lines between reality and another dimension whether it is space and the present or dreams and alertness. So all that’s left to say is tune in and experience some fine, light and airy pop because the whole experience can really only be likened to the wonder of watching a colourful bird in full flight.
Originally published on 24 January 2012 at the following website: http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/reviews/music/31376/Intercooler–Time-To-Let-Go
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