What’s the first thought that arises in your mind when you hear the name Terry? For me, I’m vaguely reminded of Terry, the roller-skating, gay prostitute from the show Reno 911!. Yet, unbeknownst to most people, it’s the moniker for a quirky Australian music collective that doesn’t mind being esoteric. It’s also part of the name of the group’s debut full length, out now for listeners to enjoy. You’ll find yourself wondering why you haven’t heard of this band yet.
Terry is the latest musical project of Amy Hill, Al Montfort, Xanthe Waite, and Zephyr Pavey. All of them are veterans of the underground music scene in Melbourne, Australia. Some of the other bands held under their belts are Dick Diver, Total Control, and Straight Jacket Nation. As Terry, the quartet has made quite a splash this year with the release of their debut EP Talk About Terry and the follow up EP, 8 Girls, released just this past April. Now, they’re ready to spread their sound to a wider audience with their recently released debut album, Terry HQ.
Underground Music Veterans Blend Indie Rock and Post-Punk
One commendable track from this album is “Hot Heads.” Within this song lays a smooth, flowing rhythm formed from a spunky, groove-heavy bassline and chugging drumbeats. The rhythm also contains some undertones of funk, as well. Meanwhile, plucky, strumming guitar riffs fill the background along with blaring synth interludes and intermittent keyboard melodies. A rather peculiar aspect of this piece are the deadpan yet harmonizing vocals shared among the members that augment its subtle, cool vibe.
Lead single “Don’t Say Sorry” is a very austere song. It opens with buzzing guitar lines that are quickly joined by a pulsating bassline and loud, vigorous drums and cymbal crashes. As the track rolls along, group members deliver stolid, emphatic vocals in a manner akin to a personal mantra. Past the 1:30 mark, screeching, distorted guitar riffs emerge and add a blistering dose of vibrant, chaotic sounds. This gives the song a bold, rugged attitude.
Terry Mixes Post-Punk with Politics
Then, there’s “Chitter Chatter,” a throwback to early post-punk in the ’70s. Its rhythmic backbone consists of temperate drumbeats and deep, resonant bass riffs. Gliding across this moderate rhythm are slashing guitar lines and nonchalant vocals with a relaxed, measured essence. After the one-minute mark, they are joined by coarse, cutting guitar riffs that add some rough edges. With the riffs present, the song possesses a sound resembling glam punk legends the New York Dolls.
“Third War” has a minimalist feel to it. For most of this song, the only sounds heard are droning synth melodies and steadfast, dulcet guitar riffs. There’s also the placid, collected vocal harmonies from the band members that insert a cool-headed mood to it. The minimal instrumentation, however, allows for the vocals to stand out and preside. Lyrics like “The roar of death announces the game / Old men expect more of the same” alludes to the former leaders and politicians who led people into countless wars and military conflicts with their seemingly misanthropic agenda. Other lines, such as “You just wish for a third war,” highlight how those same war hawks are now pushing for another world war. Thus, this song shines for its polarizing, political tone.
On Terry HQ, their debut LP, Terry showcases a distinctive, bare-bones style of lo-fi indie rock with tinges of post-punk. In doing so, they dredge up the memories of early post-punk while simultaneously taking things in a new direction.