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Live Review: PLTS, Top Lip, The Football Club, Self Talk

20 February 2017 | 5:00 pm | Xavier Rubetzki Noonan

"...The barrage of root-note bass and crash cymbals is a bit overbearing."

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Local pop-punk act Self Talk's reputation is growing, and it's no surprise why: their tunes are infectious, punchy, and well-orchestrated, with clever drum parts backing up a deft interplay between synth and guitars. The band scatters a couple of new songs into their set, which serve to whet the crowd's appetite, but it's closer Hypocrite that really balances the five-piece's elements perfectly.

The room is suddenly a whole lot more crowded for The Football Club, but the buzzworthy folk-punk band from Footscray don't look nervous as they launch into a set that genuinely wows the crowd. Part of it is the scope: whether spitting acid on You And Yr Friends or pining through heartbreak on Girlcrush, singer Ruby Markwell is effortlessly relatable and endlessly charismatic. Part of it is the band, who absolutely shred their parts, lending the right level of passion and drama to every moment. New songs like Mrs Doubtfire (A Song For The Footscray Folk Scene), a brilliantly pointed diatribe addressed to "nobody in particular, thank you", show the blindingly bright future ahead for this band in 2017.

Sydney's Top Lip are up next, a promising quartet of long-haired dudes with a healthy array of effects pedals. It's hard to argue with their crowd-pleasing psych-rock, particularly as they seem to be having such a great time: the occasional little Ezra Koenig "Hey! Hey! Hey!"s from lead singer Eddie add to the already peppy vibe. It doesn't hurt that he's a dead ringer for '90s hunk Breckin Meyer. A cover of Gorillaz' Clint Eastwood is a pretty tone-deaf addition to the set, as the band have to sit on the same riff for the whole song while Eddie raps uncomfortably over the top, but after the first verse the band segue back into their much stronger original material.

Byron Bay quartet PLTS (that's "pilots", not "pilates") are in town to launch their new single Call Me Out, the result of another collaboration with Sydney producer JP Fung, who's managed to capture the best of the band's dynamic energy. The band have a handful of great tunes under their belt, but regrettably their 45-minute set is padded out with a few competent-but-unremarkable mid-tempo indie-rock songs. Kit Bray's Kings Of Leon-esque lead vocal keeps things afloat, but the barrage of root-note bass and crash cymbals is a bit overbearing.

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Call Me Out has that same anthemic vibe, but the added variety of its pared-back and moody bridge sets the stage for a genuinely fist-pumping final chorus. The band's better-known songs are easily their better ones — tunes like Astoria and set highlight On & On pack in more variety, more diverse textures, and bigger hooks.