Music / Features
Track by Track:
Redspencer - Dreamworld
Words by Daniel Devlin
Wednesday 8th September, 2021
Five years on from their colourful debut Perks, Melbourne’s adopted jangle trio Redspencer have returned with Dreamworld, the band’s latest foray into earnest, thoughtful and equally clever guitar-pop. Spanning genre and refreshing catharsis across its 13 tracks, we had Redspencer bandleader David McMillan talk us through the magic and wider themes behind Dreamworld.
From a humble start in the rural NSW town of Glenn Innes, David and Aiden McMillan - the brothers behind timeless guitar-pop trio Redspencer - began learning music through their local Pentecostal church band. Although a far cry from the breezy pop-smarts of Respencer, these formative years doing “the lord's work” set a precedent for the group’s knack for melody, songwriting charm and unique life outlook.

Arriving in Melbourne in 2013, Redspencer now sit firmly amongst the city’s most loved jangle-rock groups, their take on the style marrying the pleasant sonics of 60’s pop with Australia’s best post-punk and new wave. Following on from their kaleidoscopic debut Perks in 2016, Dreamworld is a fittingly whimsical sophomore that details the groups ponderous and beautifully hypnotic tunes across the last five years.

Recorded live with David Turner at Soundpark Studios in Northcote, the simplicity and balmy facade of Dreamworld feels colourfully deceiving - each track lyrically poignant, instrumentally dense and bold enough to assert a decade-spanning array of sonic inspiration. Perhaps best showcased on album opener ‘Hard Feelings’, Redspencer begin their expert camouflaging, contrasting pristine pop production with an eerie and starkly dramatic storyline. Furthered on album highlight ‘Put Er There Pal’, McMillan tackles themes of mental health and personal accountability - touting lyrics of lost connection and realisation atop the album’s darkest melody (and best sax salo).

As Dreamworld unravels, Redspencer brilliantly display their range, pushing understated guitar-pop to its limits all the while telling honest stories with conviction and heart. To help us get to know the album a little better, David has kindly walked us through Dreamworld below.
Hard Feelings

There was a particular time a few years ago when I was having a lot of dystopian post-apocalyptic dreams. Not sure why. One, in particular, stood out. I found myself in a kind of survival group with someone who, in real life, I’d had a pretty dramatic unresolved falling out with. While this War of the Worlds sci-fi movie-like scene was unfolding around us, more surprising was the lighthearted exchange we had. Felt pretty good about this dream the next day. From memory, ‘Hard Feelings’ popped out a few weeks later. I’d also like to add that the bassline Andre made up for this song is some of his finest work.

Tomorrow’s Yesterday

Romantic betrayal makes it very easy to put everything on the other person - certainly easier than taking responsibility for any wrongdoing on your own part. This song is attempting to use the point of view gun to be like, “well, it’s understandable. If you weren’t happy, why waste your time? I would have dumped me too etc.”. Trying not to take it so personally or seriously but ultimately not succeeding.

Once More

This was a conscious attempt at an upbeat rock ’n’ roll song that came out sounding like a rip-off of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’. It’s about staying involved with someone out of habit and/or comfort and ignoring all the red flags that lead to nowhere good for anyone. As with the rest of the album, we recorded with Dave Turner at Soundpark Studios in Northcote through an S.A.E. program where the students get to record a band outside of the university to 2-inch tape. It was a win-win for us as we got to work with Dave (a big part of our sound) again and were able to cut the cost of production significantly.


For someone bogged deep in the smelly dumps, advice from someone who hasn’t ever really been prone to anxiety/depression might sound a bit like someone saying “why don’t you just try being happy? Problem solved!” Like most of the album, we recorded the drums, bass, and guitar live. Luckily, the tape machine in the studio ran out just after we finished THE take (thank god). This end of tape derailment gave Aiden’s outro guitar a kind of tremolo effect as the song was winding out.

All I Do

The now-defunct New York music label OSR put out a lot of awesome modern obscure stuff. One of these artists was Jimmie Packard. From what I can gather he’s an old busker who plays classic hits from the ’30s to ’60s. One of these - ‘All I Do Is Dream Of You’, originally published in 1934 - was written for a Joan Crawford movie and used many times after. I’d been listening to this a lot and wanted to write a classic sounding 1950’s style number. Around the same time, I was fooling around with a new chord progression while watching a bit of Shawn Micalif’s Mad As Hell. At some point, the show was stopped and the first line, “all I ever do is dream of you, I must be mad as hell” rolled out over these jazzy chords. I thought, “kee that was easy”. Writing the rest of the song took a lot longer!

Big Deal

This one had to do quite a few rounds through the demo process before coming together. I’m not sure how other people write songs. I guess it’s different for everyone. I usually have to produce a multitude of crap ideas (I hope nobody ever hears) on my phone voice memos to syphon through before having anything worth working on. If one of these memos evolves into a shitty GarageBand demo with lyrics that’s top treatment! In this case, I was trying to replicate my favourite shoegaze bands and by the time I had a demo to show Aiden and Andre, I’d missed the target completely. But they were into the style and it seemed to jive as a band so we kept working on it.

Breakfast Interlude

Several years ago, before the world changed I had the privilege of touring with Dag (drumming) and Thigh Master throughout Europe. A very memorable/intense month! After one of the funnest shows of the trip we were driving through the Swiss Alps (not sure which direction). The scenery was breathtaking and I got to see and touch thick snow for the first time in my life. I felt compelled to commemorate the moment by making something silly on my Garageband phone app (which I highly recommend, a lot of fun). The night before I’d taken a sneaky voice recording of the dinner conversation with our hosts. I cut a piece of that out and spliced it at the start. It fits with the interlude tradition that was started on our first album, Perks.

No Fear

Not too long before I met my current partner I had a sort of precognitive experience while sitting in the park. Nothing too crazy, just a soft easy feeling that a good change was around the corner. Those moments are rare and you have to be open to them to notice. The song came out easily too. On the contrary, recording this one was a nightmare. We hadn’t practised enough before recording so by the time we got a take all the way through without screwing up we nearly cried. Aiden’s guitar solo overdub is one of my favourite moments on the album - he used a little no brand practice amp Mum and Dad bought for us in Coffs Harbour on a family holiday about 25 years ago. When it works, it works!

Put Er There Pal

When you are going through a rough one, everyone around you experiences that to a degree. They do, say and give what they can while dealing with their own problems. This is a song about being open with people but realising at the end of the day only you can deal with your own negative thought patterns. The sax in the instrumental bridge section was performed by an old friend, Daniel Gildenhuys from Glen Innes - mine and Aiden’s hometown. I sent him a rough mix (to Sydney) and what he sent back fit perfectly, didn’t need any editing or anything. What a treat! Thanks again, Dan.


A close friend of mine, Dusty was having a bit of a Creedence Clearwater Revival revival. I hadn’t really listened to them since I first started going to the pub back home. Back then, without fail every weekend some old sweaty drunken rambler would put ‘Bad Moon Rising’ on the jukebox and stumble around yelling along. So I’d filed this band away under the ‘annoying rock’ section of my brain. All these years later, like a lot of music I thought was lame as a youngen, was brought into a different light and so I had a kind of humbling revelation. Long story short - ‘Oasis’ is a failed rip off attempt from a Creedence Renaissance.

Epicentre of Activity

The company I had been working for since moving to Melbourne had grown from a small family-style business into a big successful machine. Great for the business, but I felt like a cog in the wheel and found it hard to take pride in what I was doing. This song is about trying to keep things in perspective. Work is just work. Unless you’re a genius at what you do, someone will take your place when you leave so don’t take it too seriously or “kiss their butt-cheeks” any more than you have to.


Several different stories and ideas were thrown together in this song. I may have made sense of it all at some stage but can’t remember how now (brown cow). The last of these is true. I shared a room with my two brothers at the age of eight or nine. While trying to sleep one night I noticed the silhouette of a strange small figure standing next to the head of my older brother Spencer’s bed across from mine leaning over him. I had a wild imagination in those days so I kept closing my eyes and expecting it to go away, but whenever I opened them again, there it was as solid as before. After five minutes or so, the figure slowly turned and soundlessly crossed the room toward Aiden’s bed. It stopped dead still and leaned over him. I was starting to get quite worried as my hallucinations usually fluttered about and disappeared after a few minutes. This one was unwavering, consistent and had what seemed to be a small thin body and slightly larger round hairless head. I realised it was doing the rounds. Eventually it did slowly turn and make its way toward me. At the last minute, I pulled the cover over my head and that’s all I remember. Say what you will from where you sit on the paranormal spectrum, it wasn’t my mother.
Dreamworld is out now through Dinkum Records - head to to grab the album on limited vinyl.