Album Review: Methyl Ethel - Triage

15 February 2019 | 9:31 am | Tim Kroenert

"Webb has said 'Triage', thematically, is a “coming-of-age” album, and it's true in more ways than one."

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Wherein lies the genius of Methyl Ethel? Jake Webb has long been the mastermind, and plays pretty much a lone hand on Triage, the third LP to bear the Methyl Ethel moniker, writing, recording and producing all tracks in his Perth home studio, before co-mixing the record in London's Mute Studios. Listening, it’s easy to picture him arriving at some perfect storm of creativity and craftsmanship, his inventiveness grounded in talent and technical skill. 

It goes beyond his ethereal vocals, although these are as incomparable as ever, notably on the trance-inducing Post-Blue (with its eerie epitaph, “I saw it come creeping up the walls”), and readymade anthem What About The 37°?. The whip-smart drumming and effortless bass grooves are a big reason why album highlight Hip Horror is utterly danceable, despite the cross-rhythmic keyboard progressions that make it play like an aural anxiety dream. 

Webb has said Triage, thematically, is a “coming-of-age” album, and it's true in more ways than one. He has perfected the art of assimilating pop tropes and making them his own. The synth intro to Trip The Mains mimics The Cure’s Let’s Go To Bed, while the picky guitar in No Fighting recalls, disquietingly (and perhaps unintentionally), U2’s One Tree Hill. Both are unmistakably Methyl Ethel.