Formed in response to an exhausting sold-out national tour as members of Inner West hip-hop collective One Day, The Meeting Tree is the hyperactive artistic lovechild of Jackie Onassis producer Raph ‘Mr Sydney’ Lauren and DJ/singer/multi-instrumentalist Joyride. The elusive duo first manifested on Instagram, building and engaging an audience by asking the single, poignant question: r u a cop? The pair used their account predominantly to express their distrust of authoritarian figures, and to present their highly scientific analysis of Chet Faker’s cop status, whose penchant for woollen headgear in 30 degree heat is a clear indication that the fellow Australian is, in fact, a cop. The Meeting Tree have recently released their debut EP, R U A Cop, a virulent and paradoxical combination of the best elements of hip-hop, pop and electronica, described cryptically by the outfit as “a long, luscious and uplifting truth bomb”.
Opener Don’t Care is an infectious experiment in apathetic bravado, while First Place Pt. 1 takes the pair’s strangely endearing obnoxiousness to stratospheric heights. With Joyride’s distinctively silky voice crooning over magnetic Raph-crafted accompaniment (“boy, I fucked your girlfriend… and given the chance I’ma do it again…”) it’s no surprise that she went home with them.
The EP’s title track is a horn-heavy, party banger awash with whistles that could only belong to overconfident rookies, or the rambunctious revellers that have nicked them. ARIA award winner Adamio Hyde of Peking Duk lends his turn up talents to the track, and its notorious music video, whose repeated refrain “hey kids, what’s up? I’m tryna get high in the club” could find a perfect home on the page of infamous twitter personality ‘Not A Cop’.
The pair reprises the sexual audacity of First Place Pt. 1 in the aptly titled First Place Pt. 2, while the erratic light show that would surely accompany Vous et Moi at any Marrickville warehouse party is easily imagined. And if there were any universe in which you could describe The Meeting Tree’s music as ‘pastoral’ it would be in the heavy-eyed soundscapes of Travelling Bear Blues.
R U A Cop is absurd and somehow charmingly obnoxious. The duo’s offhand wit and nonchalance is buoyed by a tapestry of dexterous beats, velvety melodies, talent and charisma that simultaneously begs not to be, but needs to be, taken seriously.