Beef Jerk have been keeping a low profile on the fringes of the Sydney, Australia underground for some time now, quietly lurking about since their formation in 2012 finding time here & there to practice & sometimes record some tunes. The band’s self-released “Schooners” single popped up in 2013, a (very literal) ode to drinking beers & mucking about, but greater things were afoot. The band set about polishing up old demos into what would become their debut LP “Tragic”, self-released in a small run by the band in 2015 & re-released for a deservedly wider audience by Trouble In Mind in 2016.
The band often get lumped in with the Australian “dolewave” scene - a joke title referring to bands of the jangling pop variety whose lyrics often touch on the more mundane aspects of modern life in Australia. Beef Jerk’s principal songwriter’s Jack Lee & Mikey Branson certainly write tunes that seem to fit that mold, but upon further investigation & attention, reveal an intelligent, deeper, & poetic understanding of working class culture in Australia. On the surface, many of the songs might seem like jokey throwaways, but the lyrical content of tunes like “Footy” tackles rising gentrification in Sydney, “Train” examines the self-loathing & endless mundanity of the futile workday commute. “Stay At Home Dads” might be the most immediate & jarring of all the album’s fifteen tunes, with it’s chorus of “don’t touch kids...” it’s an affecting short story about an alchoholic father who’s lost his kids in a divorce, rather than a smirking joke about pedophilia. “Tragic” revels in these odes; simultaneously championing & critiquing the seedier side of Australian culture & the human condition, stacking them on top of ramshackle riff after riff. Beef Jerk have created an album for those bruised & battered by life, but who carry on, despite the sting of broken dreams.
“Tragic” is re-released by Trouble In Mind with all-new artwork, on black vinyl and includes a download code.
RIYL: Dick Diver, Courtney Barnett, Feelies, Modern Lovers, Lowlife, The Fall