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New, Improved

24 November 2014 | 9:33 am | Cam Findlay

"New New Navy is subtle, textured, emotive and arguably more mature."

Back in 2011, New Navy’s hit track Zimbabwe was an indie gem in a year packed with indie gems, but it stood out nonetheless. The track copped a Kitsune compilation pickup and a Flume remix – the milestones all Australian music must be judged by now – and became a whole lot of people’s summer anthem. But with the unavoidable downsizing of the band to three members and a creative redirection.

“There’s some different vibes in there, but it’s all intentional, everything we’ve done,” guitarist Jamie Corson explains. “I think it was more us wanting to, more than thinking we had to. I think if we released an album with ten Zimbabwe-esque songs, it’d be pretty sickening. So we knew we wanted to throw a lot of ups and downs in there, to kind of prove to everyone that we’re not one-trick ponies.”

The upcoming debut album has been foreshadowed by the singles Rosaline and Heaven – also the title of the upcoming tour – proving that new New Navy is subtle, textured, emotive and arguably more mature. There are hints of Belle & Sebastian in there for good measure. Corson and James Chave-Dubois remain the two founding members of the band, with the trio filled out by new recruit Luke O’Loughlin. It’s been a songwriting platform they’ve had to get used to on the fly.
 

"The whole thing’s been a bit of an experiment, but I think we’ve ended up with something we’re happy with in the end.”

“It’s been pretty long. We’d been writing out the first ideas for songs about a year ago. Yeah, it’s been a bit of a different process. With the previous stuff, we’d get everyone in the same room and just jam it out until it was recorded. With this album it’s just the three of us. We would lay down the drum beats and the bass lines using machines, and then we would get a couple of session guys in to fill them in. I think that kind of forced us to spend more time thinking about how much or little we wanted in each song. The whole thing’s been a bit of an experiment, but I think we’ve ended up with something we’re happy with in the end.”

Happy they should be, as the tracks already heard herald a growing sense of experimentation and passion. New Navy are spending this month on their Heaven Tour, a warm-up to the album release, and fittingly the whole trek starts with a show in their hometown of Ulladulla, the little coastal town far south of their now-home Sydney. They’re obviously pretty excited.

“We haven’t played a show down there for years, and our friends and family down there have been kinda asking us about it for a while, and we just never got around to it. And it’s actually my birthday that weekend. We had the rest of the tour planned, and then we thought, ‘Let’s just tack this show on the front, and then I can kinda half claim it as my birthday party as well.’ We can head down there and have a bit of a bender, and then feel great for the rest of the tour.”

 

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