Well, I'm about 9 months late to the party here (more like 3 years late when you consider this originally came out in Australia in 2010) but better late than never, as this debut from Scott & Charlene's Wedding has turned into one of my two or three favorite releases of 2012, or 2010. The lo-fi, hazy psych-punk sound, combined with the humorous, heartfelt lyrics and vocals, is pretty hard to resist.
Unlike S & C's Wedding's recent EP, the jangle-poppy 'Two Weeks,' 'Para Vista Social Club' is straight up, fuzzed-out garage psych. Only, unlike most modern garage, the lyrics here are excellent and genuine, with Craig Dermody's conversational, good-natured slacker drawl relating autobiographical stories in a way that's comical--with a delivery that's similar to punk-era U.K. bands like Television Personalities and The Only Ones--yet very moving at the same time, and this is what separates this album from its peers, imo. It's not hard to relate to lyrics about "still driving trucks" or going back to school, as on "Footscray Station," even if you personally don't drive a truck or go to school. Most everyone can relate to crappy jobs and second-guessing their life choices, and the sincerity behind the words is what helps makes these lyrics so universal without being downbeat, and when combined with the simple, fuzzed-out hooks that bring to mind The Velvet Underground and 70's punk--as well as the hazy background atmospherics--makes for a listening experience that's catchy, moving, and tripped-out.
By far, the best headphone-journey track is the haunting, hallucinatory "Foreign Lands," which is filled with hypnotic, epic lead-guitar noodling over a steady, propulsive beat, while the most instantly infectious tracks are the aforementioned "Footscray Station"; the tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation of the punk-infused slacker anthem, "Born To Lose"; and the ominous "Back In Town," which features an eerie, tripped-out organ weaving all around the two-chord guitar riff, with repeating mantra-like lyrics that, altogether, is pretty trance-inducing, yet never at the expense of melodic hooks.
'Para Vista Social Club' is, imo, essential listening for fans of punk-laden garage-psych, as is the rest of Scott & Charlene's Wedding's output, even if Dermody has traded in most of the psych for dreamy jangle-pop after moving to the states last year. He's one of the best, most underrated songwriters out there today, with a musical and lyrical talent that's uniquely his own, and--even though I just got into his work--I'm already impatiently awaiting the new full-length coming out next month. If it's half as good as his work here, I'll be completely and utterly satisfied.
(FYI, Craig Dermody also fronts an Aussie noise-rock supergroup called Divorced, featuring members of fellow psych-rockers Mum Smokes and Beaches. Their 2011 debut, 'Separation Anxiety,' is available on Bandcamp for $5.)