SOUNDS OF THE AARDVARK VOL. ONE Vinyl Launch gets 7.5/10

Sounds of the Aardvark Vol. One Vinyl Launch @ The Aardvark
w/ Noah Dillon, Lincoln Mackinnon and The Wrecking Train, Bass Lemon, Didion’s Bible, Web Rumours, Salary (solo), Psychotic Reactions
Saturday, November 17, 2019


Sounds of the Aardvark is an ingenious vinyl compilation launched at Fremantle local haunt the Aardvark last Saturday. Available only from the venue and featuring some of WA’s favourite acts on a beautiful, transparent yellow LP, it’s as wonderful a celebration of the local music scene as it is a shout act to the acts that have made the venue such a success since changing it’s name from the Odd Fellow a year or so back.

The Psychotic Reactions

Psychotic Reactions, the first band to kick off the night, played to a largely empty room. Lead vocalist Hannah Smillie appeared shy, her eyes only occasionally peeking out from under her heavy fringe but she and her strongly connected four-piece band packed a pleasing wallop with their Mersey-side retro garage sound.


Second to take the stage, the intriguingly named Salary in a reduced format was a revelation. Accustomed to the cinematic tour de force of the 9-11 member Salary band, many of us had to be wondering what treat lead man Sean Gorman had in store for us. Armed only with his guitar, Gorman threw his head back like a lone wolf, giving us his insightful, richly textured songs. A highlight of the set was part the way through the poetic track Pastel Suburbs (in an unscripted moment) Gorman signalled to Sam, the bartender, to come join him in a powerful, stunningly beautiful duet.

Squeezing onto the Aardvark stage next was six-piece Web Rumours. Lead singer Em Burrows led the charge into the minds of the crowd. The band’s brand of new wave 80s alt-pop provides a happy bass sound that is layered with ruminative synths. The winding guitar and weaving synths within the second song they played, Plasticine Houses, was a perfect backdrop for Burrows’ poetic, introspective lyrics. Their set felt thoughtful and rich in history.

Didion’s Bible

Didion’s Bible was up next on this huge line up of Perth talent. A band with a stupendous amount of energy and devotion to their performance, lead vocals swapped between Laurent and Drew, both throwing themselves around the stage, creating an enthralling performance. Laurent got down amongst the crowd into the spare space front of stage, screaming his lungs out, a tangled man expressing himself strenuously. The guitars were drooling, and the blend of synths and fierce guitar was palpable. Playing their opening song on the vinyl being launched, Script Speak, proved an immersive experience of its own. Finishing their set out with a song called Junk Candy, this band is really getting on a roll.

Bass Lemon

Bass Lemon started their set off with a crazy crash and tear, lead singer Freddie Mai took the stage with her signature look and stirring, theatrical vocals. The whole band had a buoyant energy, glowing under the warm lights. Their showcase of talent musically is impressive; the instruments have standout moments alone, whilst also folding so well into one another. Freddie Mai has the vocals of a true rock and roll icon, and carries herself with a relentless attitude which was enticing to watch. The blend of soul and old school pop-rock in their 2019 single No Means No created a high energy song filled with emotion. A change of outfit was in order, confirming the rock-star personality Mai gives. Finishing off their set with their contribution to the vinyl, The Christmas Tree Song, Mai dedicated it to her Irish Christian family who, in her own words, will “never be loved by God.”

Lincoln McKinnon and The Wrecking Train

Fremantle-based, country-folk outfit Lincoln Mackinnon & The Wrecking Train played a beautiful and intimate set. The reverbed country twang of Mackinnon’s guitar met with carving drums and the swell of the music fell over the band with their track I Won’t Lie off 2019 album Sparks Will Fly. This track also incorporated a very velvety saxophone solo from new addition Thea Woodward, a well-known local face in bands such as The Tommyhawks and Salary. My Baby She Won’t Come Home was a ballad of romantic troubles which slowed down and grounded the set. The sincerity of their sound and lyrics was startling. The welcome addition of Woodward really brought the beautiful saxophone sounds alight in this set.

Noah Dillon

The signature curly locks of rising Perth artist Noah Dillon was the finale for this splendid night. He opened with Don’t Act Like You Know Me, a single from 2019, also on his latest EP Everything Melts which came out last month. It’s a beautiful song with wiry guitar and vocal inflictions. Introducing their contribution to the vinyl Holding On by describing it as “a song that means a lot to us as a band,” the live version kicked off far grittier than the recorded version but that spiralling, mellow guitar and vocals remained. The stillness of the crowd as they anxiously anticipated his vocals on Holding On was noticeable. The first line was delivered trembling with a knowing and peaceful tone carried on throughout the track. Dillon’s voice matched the torrential downpour of instrumentals in the chorus in their next song You did It to Yourself, featuring the particularly great lyric “If there’s a God I bet it looks like my mum.” Noah Dillon was a great end to a well-rounded night of local talent.


Photos by Linda Dunjey


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