Music / Premieres
Premiere:
Floodlights - Backyard
Words and interview by James Lynch
Friday 24th May, 2019

Today we have the pleasure of premiering the debut EP from Melbourne four-piece Floodlights - Backyard is a striking collection of scrappy garage-rock that flows with an Australian spirit, while refusing to downplay the starker sides of our nation’s identity.
When I write these pieces, I often mention how an opening track can set the tone for what’s to come across the rest of the album. That said, few releases are able to perfectly conjure the right atmosphere like Floodlights do on Backyard’s opener. ‘Uncle Banna Lawrie’ actually finds the band sitting out completely, and features the warm voice of Mirning Elder and Whale Dreamer Uncle Bunna Lawrie in their place, speaking gently about the significance of the Nullarbor over an almost silent backdrop (with the exception of some squawking birds). There’s an immediate sense of pensiveness about this introduction, which adds a whole new context to the following tracks - while the EP could be defined by its true-blue ockerisms and raw performances, this sense of tranquility means the EP is no longer masked by the harshness of Australiana, an instead embeds Backyard with an extra degree of heart and earnest vulnerability.

Following on is ‘Nullarbor’, the EPs first single and standout track. Overflowing with scrappy charm, the track finds vocalist Louis Parsons leaning into idle uncertainty with his raucous yawp, over a bed of jangling guitars and a spirited rhythm section, before ‘Small Town Pub’ turns up the heat with its fiery guitars and driving groove. Finally, the EP rounds out with ‘Backyard’, a track that flitters between feeling melancholic and hopeful with its warm chord progression but doleful melody, before it erupts into an impassioned stomp, sending out the EP on an uplifting note, with empowered group vocals and a rustic harmonica.

It’s a really impressive debut release and one that points towards solid things to come from the band. To celebrate the release of Backyard, we caught up with Floodlights to find out a little more about it.
TJ: Hey Floodies, you’ve just dropped your debut EP - how did Backyard come together?

F: The songs on the EP were the first three we made together as a band in mid 2018. We started the band after seeing a gig at the Tote and after a fair bit of rambling we actually followed through and began playing together. The EP has stories from each of us weaved in some way or another, and words that we all believe in.

There’s a real sense of Australiana that rings through the EP, but you tackle it in a really refreshing way, almost as if you’re celebrating and challenging Australian culture at the same time. How has Australia influenced Floodlights?

‘Nullarbor’ was written about a trip a few of us went on around Australia. This trip had a major influence on this EP, helping shape the ideas behind all three songs. The EP looks to explore different aspects of Australian culture and life. We look to celebrate the beauty of Australia and the amazing landscapes that surround us, while also to address aspects of Australia that are regressive and need to change.

The EP also opens with an introduction by indigenous elder Uncle Bunna Lawrie - tell us about how this came about.

We met Uncle Bunna through the Fight for the Bight paddle out held earlier this year in protest of Equinor’s proposed drilling off the coast of South Australia. He is a Mirning Elder and Whale Dreamer of the Nullarbor coast, and he provided the opening address. We were really grateful to have him introduce the EP and share what the Nullarbor means to him.

You’re currently gearing up for your EP launch next month, but what else is on the horizon for Floodlights?

We have just started recording tracks for an album that will be released later in the year. In the meantime, we will be playing plenty of gigs around Melbourne and we’re planning a tour up the East Coast.

Have a listen to Backyard above, and catch Floodlights launching the EP on June 15th at the Toff in Town, with Electric Toothbrush and Gamjee.