"It kinda got a bit crap, to be honest. We were losing the fun bit of being in a band..."
Melbourne-bred guitar band Dallas Crane left a big mark on the national scene in the late '90s and early '00s, the four-piece priding themselves on their fierce live show and backing that up with an equally unrelenting work ethic. After an exhaustive decade on the road (during which they released four long-players) they went on hiatus around 2006, reappearing sporadically — like when The Who asked them on the road in 2009 — but they seemed done and dusted as a recording entity.
Then in 2014 a slightly rejigged version of the band began working on a new album and last year saw the release of Scoundrels, an album as surprising for its strength after the extended absence as much as its very existence. The band, it seems, felt that there was unfinished business to attend to.
"We wanted to evolve the band's sound, but we've never been about sitting down and trying to get on triple j or anything like that."
"Where we left it with [2006 album] Factory Girls and I guess the way we stepped away from [the band] the first time, Pete [Satchell — guitar/vocals] and I just felt — without going into any boring details — that it could have been better and we didn't want that to be the last thing we did," reflects frontman Dave Larkin. "We were both still writing actively with our other projects, and we just thought, 'You know, nothing's really going to have as good a chance at getting out there unless we do it under the Dallas Crane name,' so we decided to see if we had anything left just to put a new finish on it, I guess. Finish on a bit more of our own terms.
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"Back then we were coming out through Alberts and Sony and there were so many people signing off on everything we did, and it kinda got a bit crap, to be honest. We were losing the fun bit of being in a band so we just had to clean out the possums in the roof and just get back to what's important."
Scoundrels finds Dallas Crane stretching out, developing their aesthetic without abandoning what made them so good in the first place.
"We wanted to evolve the band's sound, but we've never been about sitting down and trying to get on triple j or anything like that," Larkin laughs. "Essentially we're a guitar band and that's the shit we love the most, and with Pete and I coming back to the band from different places, songs were coming from different places than we were used to with old Dallas Crane.
"When we were doing the band last time we were one of the few rock'n'roll bands, but now we're really a bit of a niche genre and we should really just be happy and exploit being a rock'n'roll band — just go for it! Five-minute solos? No worries! We didn't cut much down, a lot of the songs we just tracked and kept jamming — most of the lengthier songs are there because we were just having a good time. We were just a little bit more free with it, it was good."