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Methyl Ethel (Solo)

Monster Management, Village Sounds & Remote Control Records

Methyl Ethel (Solo)

7:00pm, Wed 21 October, 2020

Event Details

It's apparent that it is not possible to tour in October, due to the ongoing presence of COVID-19. Rather than reschedule again, the tour has been cancelled. Methyl Ethel looks forward to touring again as soon as it's safe to do so - but we don't feel comfortable holding onto fans' money with so much uncertainty around future dates. Hope to see you soon. 

Here’s a read on Hurts To Laugh. It’s an EP by Western Australia’s Methyl Ethel,

recorded within the same sessions as 2019’s Triage. It marks the ongoing output of producer and

multi-instrumentalist Jake Webb’s restless mind. Time and again he’s proven that while there’s

no distinction between music and art, psychologically speaking there is a difference between

feeling and emotion. One is a conscious response to a set of circumstances, the other is the

unconscious conditions of our very being that only occasionally surfaces through feelings. Hurts

To Laugh excavates this ambiguous site, implied by its very title. You can laugh so hard it hurts—

pure joy. Or laugh despite the pain—despair. These paradoxes run throughout the EP, as well as

everything that came before.

There’s the muted, knocking tom of “Charm Offensive” on this sixth Methyl Ethel release since

2013. Its 25-second false start of only a vocal and rhythm section opens in a distressed hiccough.

The lyrics are repeated but indecipherable. A sentence starts but doesn’t end before a melodic

organ carries the music into a dream pop ebb. The title is equally as inviting as it is antagonistic.

An oxymoron. An alluring assault.

Lead single “Majestic AF” stumbles into its bubbling oscillator and analogue polyrhythms, while a

kick-free drum beat marches right into an atonal synth melody supporting Webb’s equally

idiosyncratic falsetto. Visual artist Loribelle Spirovski’s impasto paint strokes on the gestural side

profile of a head on the EP cover resounds throughout the music it holds. The figure’s one detailed

eye looks out from a flurry of vivid colour. He returns his gaze to his audience and dares them to

guess what he’s thinking.

Sydney-based artist Spirovski is the same person whose work features on last year’s Triage—

Webb’s third and last album in a trilogy of obliquely expressed relationship drama, starting with

2015’s Oh Inhuman Spectacle. That was a full-length debut with the eerie art rock aesthetic of

Connan Mockasin, by a band with a similarly silly name. The jangly echoes of tracks like

“Shadowboxing” and gold certified “Twilight Driving” resonated with the blown-out vibe of sunsoaked

film photography, recorded across the bedrooms of Perth and produced by Webb himself.

This muddled metaphor of sound and image is a deliberate one, because for Methyl Ethel, the

two come hand-in-hand.

The artwork for 2015’s Oh Inhuman Spectacle; a found image titled ‘carnations in the modern

manner.’ An almost abstract still life sculpture represented in flattened space. 2017’s Everything

is Forgotten followed with artist Holly Fewson's female figure looking into a mirror with no

reflection. That album, with its platinum-selling single ‘Ubu’—oddly reminiscent of a kind of rockbased

Hot Chip-era synth pop—represented a cleaner, clearer sound worked on with Arctic

Monkeys and Foals producer James Ford.

Methyl Ethel is a project that’s the brainchild of a single mind—writer, performer and producer

Webb—while also being a live band of five members. It makes music that draws from myriad

influences and a history of new wave and indie rock, while sounding like its own thing entirely.

Both familiar and alien, intimate and aloof, you never quite know what you’re in for, but the trip is

bound to be enchanting.