Sydney quintet The Preatures formed in 2010 and with a pair of acclaimed EPs in their wake – 2012’s Shaking Hands and Is This How You Feel? (The latter of which spawned what has to date been their biggest single of the same name) seem to be going from strength to strength. Their jauntily energetic, ‘80s inspired indie pop has cemented their place as darlings of the festival circuit both in Australia and abroad and with all this good will being thrown their direction, this month they take that defining step in every band’s career – a debut full-length album.
Blue Planet Eyes is a record that encapsulates everything people love about this band: The big hooks, bubbly, angular guitar work, frenetic Footloose rhythms and last but not least, the powerhouse vocals of Miss Isabella Manfredi. With their sound bearing all the hallmarks of the musical equivalent of the delicious retro-kitsch of a heat-activated Hypercolor shirt, it’s interesting that the record opens with a title track that is fairly demure. Its washy reverbs and sepia-tone atmospherics catch you off guard (in a good way) and segue into current single Somebody’s Talking. It’s a truly irresistible slice of throwback, postpunk-inspired pop with the kind of uniquely infectious energy that will surely place them above the overly crowded indie-pop fray.
The same goes for breakthrough single Is This How You Feel? which is included on Blue Planet Eyes to ensure that foreign, less EP-driven markets don’t miss out on the fun and the chincy, restrained 808-groove that kicks off Ordinary gives way to an explosive chorus and a stadium-slaying stomp/clap breakdown that even the doubtful must admit is pretty damn catchy.
The ‘80s weren’t all calisthenics and fluro leg-warmers; They also heralded the birth of the power-ballad and because Two Tone Melody doesn’t go to Bonnie Tyler levels of schmaltz with its stark, Rhodes-driven dynamic build, it serves as a nice change of pace for the album’s midpoint. The reprieve is short lived however with the vicious, muscular groove that underscores Rock and Roll Rave coming and slapping you upside the head if your attention had started to drift by this point. Izzi’s sensuous, three-pronged vocal attack is truly a marvel and the gorgeously lazy guitar solo in the bridge works a treat.
Whatever You Want is simultaneously whimsical and dark (again, in a good way) and Cruel seems poised to be another single somewhere down the line sharing the same effortless energy and classic tropes as Is This How You Feel? and Somebody’s Talking. The bona-fide hip-hop breakbeat that starts It Gets Better (previously released as Better Than It Ever Could Be) gives way to something that doesn’t sound entirely dissimilar to INXS at their anthemic, arena-filling prime with Izzy’s layered vocals in searing form as always with just the perfect amount of snarl.
Closing out the set is Business, Yeah. It’s impressively stripped back for a band who operate at a such a high-octane level all the time and builds to the level of dynamic climax that a record like this deserves. Blue Planet Eyes is a concise, focused debut from a band that have already made Australia fall in love with them and there’s nothing on it to lead you to think they won’t coerce the rest of the world into doing the same.