Music / Features
Track by Track:
Regionals - Sentimental Health
Words by Jordan Lane
Wednesday 16th January, 2019

Sydney punks Regionals have been working away at their craft together since 2016, making sure they got things right before releasing their debut EP. And with the release of Sentimental Health late last year, get things right they did.
The Sydney band’s blend of punk, indie, and emo harks back to the 90s, a decade that the five-piece are happy to cite as inspiration. Their current lineup sees Aaron Costello on guitar, Brett Islaub singing, Adam Millar on bass, Tim Nash on guitar and Lachlan Gray on drums, and the cleverly-named six-track EP shows off the talents of a good team.

Starting out softly, ‘Slow Down Moneghetti’ introduces the shifts in tempo that shine through at different points of the EP, taking the listener from one pace to another in the blink of an eye without changing the mood. Islaub’s accent helps shape the emotionally raw vocals that help to define their sound. As the EP carries on, the tracks swept us off our feet with their gritty layers of rock, before ‘Informal Schmoozing’, an EP highlight, wraps the whole thing up with a final bow in the form of a soaring guitar solo.

Ahead of a handful of shows to round out the summer, we asked Regionals to walk us through the Sentimental Health.
Slow Down Moneghetti

Aaron: This track kinda sets the template for most Regionals songs - a seemingly never ending sequence of instrumental parts that never repeat, that Brett (vocals) works some magic on to bring together with his vocals/melodies. When I wrote the first half of the track, very much influenced by some of our emo-forebears – American Football & Arrows, it was always destined to be an EP/LP opener. The tempo change halfway through the song and the HUGE outro just sorta happened during a rehearsal. When that outro first kicked in it was a total “oh shit” moment. Massive.

Brett: This was one of the last songs I wrote lyrics to when we were doing the initial writing that would become Sentimental Health. I had an idea of where I wanted the themes to go lyrically, however it wasn’t until we finished this song that I knew it would be the first song to kick off the record musically and lyrically. As always, I spent a good amount of time figuring out where the chorus was when Aaron initially sent the demo to me - still not sure if it’s where he initially intended it to be.

Fears for Spears

Aaron: This is the last song we wrote before hitting the studio to record, in fact the last two mins of the song were completely different until the very last rehearsal before recording, where we decided to trim down another six parts of various noodling guitars into one huge repeating pattern. When we hit the studio, we had no idea how to finish the song, so we stuffed around a bit before going back to square one (just loop it). Not ideal for an unsigned band with time & budget constraints. I have a penchant for noodly guitar riffs and this song has one of my favourites. Also, it’s not usually worth describing our song titles, which tend to be random in-jokes, but this one is a play-on words that references my actual phobia of spears. They’re terrifying.

T2

Aaron: We know we’ve finished a Regionals song when someone has to ask which part the chorus is? This one’s no exception. Fortunately, once again, Brett found a way to piece this one together. This tracks a bit darker/heavier for us, aided by Tim’s layers of guitars, but gives the record a nice mix of some upbeat, some slower and some heavier songs. A special mention goes out to some of the bass riffage on this song, in fact, the thumping bass when the band kicks in on this track reminded us of the Terminator theme, hence the title T2.

Gatorade Saxaphone

Aaron: The single. A track written by Brett that was destined for his side project (Eerie Indianna, check em’ out), but he made the mistake of playing it at one of our jams and we officially stole it. Then Tim & I sprinkled with a few guitar noodles throughout and it became a Regionals song. This is the first song we played live, the first song we played together in our current line-up, the first song we recorded for this EP and is a gateway to the band.

Brett: As Aaron said, I had this song written for a while and was planning on putting it on another project I was working on at the time, but for some reason or another it didn’t end up making that record. I was mucking around with it at rehearsal and from there the boys kinda took over and turned it into something far greater than it would have been if I had kept it to myself. Always share your songs friends, and your saxophone.

Modern Pentathlon

Aaron: We wanted to spend some time at the end of our recording session messing around with different guitar effects and sounds, but we kinda ran out of time, so this was one of the only songs to get a bit of weirdness. I was quite fond of the reversed guitar effect that ended up being the intro to this song (also features in T2). This was a spontaneous addition right at the end of our sessions that just clicked. Our collection of pedals has grown since then, so look out for some weird sounds on our next record, whenever that is. Watching Brett record the vocals for the heavy parts of this song was a sight to behold, he pushed his vocals as far as they could go over several takes - I was worried he was gonna pass out. All done for your listening pleasure.

Informal Schmoozing

Aaron: This track was originally an instrumental jam that we used to open our live set a few times, but I liked it so much that I pushed for it to have some vocals added and make it onto the record. This is how the track ended up with some vocals at the front of the track, and then back to its original form as an instrumental jam for the second half. There is a famous movie quote in the bridge, which you may pick up, but I don’t want to name for fear of legal action. Bonus points, if you can pick up what time signature we’re playing in that section too.

Brett: Since this song began life as an instrumental that we would use in live shows I found it quite hard to write to, because I had heard it so many times without vocals that I was very used to that and anything I tried didn’t seem to fit. After a while of trying things in the second half of the song, I decided that the part speaks for itself and it didn’t need me, until we got into the studio and I had a very random idea to put my favourite dialogue from my favourite movie in the outro. I almost didn’t say anything because I thought everyone would laugh me out of the room but the first time we played it back with the quote it fit perfectly and we all lost our collective shit.

Check out Sentimental Health above, and NSW crew can catch Regionals later this month at Rad Bar on January 24th and The Chippo Hotel on January 31st.

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