It’s been ten years since The Presets released Apocalypso, a seminal and influential dance album that changed the Australian mainstream.
The Presets won two ARIAs for their efforts – Album of the Year and Best Dance Release – and it was the first dance album to win the former award, changing the face of what dance meant to Australian listeners. Dance was now mainstream.
Apocalypso also took out the J Award, but outside of all the industry backslapping, it was also a record adored by all Australians who loved it in the clubs and in their cars.
With The Presets announcing that they’re striking out on a big national tour in June, and about to release a new album HI VIZ, now’s the time to count down our favourite bangers from one very special and classic Australian Album.
#6: ‘Kicking and Screaming’
“When I was young, I collected my heroes…”
The Presets to me represent everything that it is to be young and weird and Australian. They are musical virtuosos, makers of bangers; they are outsiders, punks, politically engaged and outspoken.
I was so excited about the release of this album. I remember this song so well, because it is track one. I remember these lyrics. ‘Never can believe how much fun we’re having.’ I remember how the synth sounds to me like it’s going in little circles, I remember how throbbing the bass was in my bedroom. This song is such a banger!
#5: ‘A New Sky’
Harmonies! Distortion! Reverb! Synth! Also I do believe at points I hear some cowbell? But seriously this is what The Presets are all about: it’s dance music, but it’s punk music, but it’s melodic AF.
The result is this confusing and uplifting mind melter that makes you want to dance and dance and dance until your face is dripping in sweat and all you can do is stare and the ceiling of the club and smile and hug your friends. Or something.
#4: ‘If I Know You’
There is nothing like dancing in a club (or in your bedroom, in your underwear) to an emphatic song about heartbreak and broken trust. Seriously. Put your hands up in the air and sing to the break in the song where Julian wails “I AM ALWAYS LEARNING THINGS THE HARDEST WAY!’
I call it ‘Club Therapy’.
#3: ‘This Boy’s In Love’
‘This Boy’s In Love’. Inhale, ahhhhh. Nasty synth and sharp; longing shards of piano; a melodic, breathy chorus that’s a little bit Bjork. It’s songs like this that remind me that while Kim and Julian are total techno punks, they went to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music together and understand tension and restraint. They are classically trained, then they went to the club and threw off the shackles.
It’s like standing on Bondi Beach, at night, with rain on your face. I have so much to say about the song I can’t even get started on the video, which is a dreamy slo-mo, water fight, Kim and Julian shirtless, the water droplets flying around look like stars in the sky. This writer’s in love.
#2: ‘Talk Like That’
“You make me crazy when you-”
This song starts with longing and Halloweenish intro by an organ. Baller. This is a love song, a lust song, with a singalong repetitive chorus about someone making you crazy when they talk talk talk talk like like like that that that that.
I so usually engage with fabulous female pop about love and lust, but I do love when these longing pop love songs are written by men! Men with feelings, woo-hoo. The whole song has this creepy, spooky edge, it’s intrusive and brash, the kick drum is like a heartbeat – it never stops.
#1: ‘My People’
Okay shut up. Just shut up. Shut up and dance. Dance really weird, like with your arms straight, make a weird face. DANCE!
Julian wrote this song about asylum seeker detention centres. “I wanted to write a song about … this horrible phenomenon where people come out here in search of a better life and we lock them up.” When this song came out ten years ago it was SO MIND BLOWING to me and all my friends. It was so driving and relentless; I remember being so excited every time it came on in the clubs, and dancing until I felt like I was going to fall over.
The song was nominated for two ARIA awards, winning ‘Best Video’ for the amazing kaleidoscopic stampede moonraker turn by director Kris Moyes. To me, the song brings back such memories: of being 18, weird, politically alienated, seeking refuge by being out of my mind in clubs with my people!
The Presets new album HI VIZ is set for release May 18. You can preorder HI VIZ here.
The Presets are touring Australia this June! Check out the full dates below, and grab your tickets now through Live Nation.
The Presets ‘HI VIZ’ Australian tour 2018
Wednesday, 13th June – Metropolis, Perth (18+)
Friday, 15th June – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (All Ages)
Saturday, 16th June – Forum Theatre, Melbourne (18+)
Thursday, 21st June – UC Refectory, Canberra (18+)
Friday, 22nd June – Waves, Wollongong (18+)
Saturday, 23rd June – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
Wednesday, 27th June – The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+)
Friday, 29th June – Nightquarter, Gold Coast (18+)
Saturday, 30th June – River Sessions Festival, Queens Park, Mackay