Beat Up is the latest blast of raw, crashing soul from the Sydney duo of Novak (guitar/vocal) and John-Henry (drums). Those acquainted with their six-track EP of late 2015 and its three singles Able, Didn’t Somebody Tell Me and Beeping will know this: you only need to hear it once to need it bad.
It’s been that way for nearly two years, since Novak first slammed his six wiry strings and magnificently sand-blasted vocal cords (“I dunno why, but it only really works if I’m belting it out”) into the maelstrom of John-Henry’s furious punk-reared drumming. Don’t ask ’em how the Bad Brains-goes-to-Stax vibe got a grip on their mojo. All they knew was that they booked a room for three hours, and a stage-ready set list of galeforce persuasion fell out in a sweaty heap.
“Ferocious,” the tastemakers agreed. “Loud,” audiences grinned as they had their hair-parted by the scene-stealing support act to Courtney Barnett, Northeast Party House and Gang of Youths.
Beeping hit Triple J’s Top 15 airplay chart, and Polish Club wound up the seventh most played act in the whole Unearthed sprawl of 2015. The double A-side 7” My House and Blood & Bone followed in April to the now well-primed chorus of superlatives.
“Simple, soulful pop songs,” is Novak’s best shot at describing what is, after all, nothing more complex than a feeling. But hey. As the first, meaty taste of a debut album due in 2017, Beat Up is a really, really good feeling.