METHYL ETHEL - In The Round
“Are You Haunted?” asks the title of Methyl Ethel’s fourth album. But it’s more of a rhetorical question. Jake Webb, who adopted the fibreglass-referencing moniker for a bedroom recording project in 2014 and has carried it through the band’s many iterations, already knows the answer. Yes, you’re haunted. We all are, and the real question is: what do we do with our hauntings?
“There are these spirits, memories of our old selves, our younger selves, parents,” he notes, “generations past whose deeds, actions, successes and failures shape us. We all have these ghosts that linger in our present predicaments.” Methyl Ethel has never shied away from themes of memories that overstay their welcome, nightmares or preoccupations that linger in the psyche. But with Webb’s latest longplayer, a more direct and poignant interpretation of haunting takes centre stage: themes of mortality, irretrievable time and heavy presences suffuse the album’s nine tracks. Themes that might make for a sombre listen if it wasn’t for Webb’s knack for exhilarating arrangements, addicting hooks, curious textures and propulsive, syncopated rhythms; elements that add up to a joyous, giddy listen, even if there’s threads of melancholy and anxiety woven through.
It’s an album haunted by the uncertain future, as well as the dauntingly unchangeable past: dearly departed friends, missed opportunities, forks in the road. With upright piano, glitching sound-samples and sanguine beats at the album’s emotional core, it’s a strange and beguiling journey; perhaps Webb’s weirdest, but also most undeniably pop-leaning and danceable record to date. Like the playful, German Expressionist styled video for ‘Proof,’ it’s a collection that’s as fun as it is serious, by turns oblique and defiantly direct. And like a ghost staring down from your ceiling, it’s the kind of thing that leaves an indelible mark.
Methyl Ethel is the nom de plume of West Australian songwriter, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jake Webb. Webb makes music that draws from myriad influences and a history of new wave and indie rock, whilst sounding like its own thing entirely. Across three albums (2015’s Oh Inhuman Spectacle, 2017’s Everything Is Forgotten and 2019’s Triage) and three EPs (2014’s Teeth and Guts, 2020’s Hurts To Laugh), Webb has proven to be a prolific and masterful purveyor of eccentric alt-pop.
Since their formation, Methyl Ethel has received countless awards and accolades attracting two Australian Music Prize nominations, a top 5 triple j Hottest 100 placement with Ubu - now an ARIA Platinum accredited single, an ARIA Gold single in Twilight Driving and an AIR Best Independent Album award for Everything Is Forgotten. Since 2015, Methyl Ethel has amassed more than 109 million streams globally and won over the hearts of countless fans the world over.
Methyl Ethel has morphed from a solo bedroom recording project into what is now a six-piece live band who has toured extensively at home and abroad. The band has appeared at internationally renowned festivals including CMJ, SXSW, Outside Lands, Strangewaves, Levitation, Green Man, Austin City Limits, Field Day and more. In Australia, they have graced the line ups of Sugar Mountain, Groovin The Moo, Falls Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Yours & Owls, Spilt Milk, A Festival Called PANAMA and Laneway Festival, as well as selling out their own headline shows at some of Australia’s largest and most prestigious venues.
"Immersive and all consuming" - STACK
"A sprawling, philosophical album that tries not to take itself too seriously" - NME Australia
"Dramatic, ethereal, visceral and haunting" - Best Before
"With the release of Are You Haunted?, Jake Webb has pushed Methyl Ethel to new heights" - GQ
We acknowledge that this event will be held on Wurundjeri land of the Kulin Nation and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
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