Methyl Ethel’s latest album ‘Everything is Forgotten’ is full of gauzy atmospherics, elastic bass lines and skewed glam rock.
BY CAITLIN REYNOLDS
Vocalist Jake Webb, bassist Thom Stewart and drummer Chris Wright make up Methyl Ethel, and producer James Ford even made an appearance assisting with the production on Everything is Forgotten.
If you’re wondering how on earth the name ‘Methyl Ethel’ even came about, it strangely evolved from Webb’s fathers work in fibreglass where he used methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. Webb later changed ‘ethyl’ to ‘ethel’ to create an identity and more personality.
Everything is Forgotten begins with the track ‘Drink Wine‘; its vibrating and zappy-synth instantly gives you that good feeling, or a feeling similar to that buzz you get from drinking a couple of vino’s. You’ve probably heard ‘Ubu’ on the radio by now with that iconic “why’d you have to go and cut your hair” line. Webb’s woozy, warped vocals create the perfect 70’s psychedelic atmosphere alongside the groovy electric guitar. However, what I love about Webb’s vocals not just here but throughout the whole album is their feminine nature, which is a refreshing change and breaks stereotypical boundaries which is rather appropriate today.
‘Femme Maison/One Man House’ is filled with drums, warp-y acoustics and strings with a simple piano which builds nicely into the chorus. Then the track transitions into ‘L’Heure de Socieres’ which has this sort of trance-like dark sound suggesting a somewhat pleasant uncertainty. Webb’s woozy vocals add to the confusion of the song as you fall deeper and deeper into the swelling sound of a deep synth and haunted piano organ. ‘Act of Contrition’ is definitely a mellow track, with a slower and raw acoustic guitar strumming alongside Webb’s effective vocals. Even though Webb probably doesn’t have the best melodic voice, its imperfect nature is surprisingly likeable particularly with such a simple instrumental which highlights his vocals even more.
‘Ground Swell’ has this happy-go-lucky charm about it with its simple drums and chiming synth effects adding some sparks of colour into the song. Just perfect for a laidback Sunday arvo in the backyard. There’s something different and mysterious about ‘Hyakki Yako’. It’s dark yet effective bouncy drum and Webb’s vocal harmonies fills the song with different personalities. Personally, I feel like you could just get high from listening to that bouncy drum for days on end.
Probably my least favourite track, I feel there is a lot going on in ‘Summer Moon’ with its very heavy and often overpowering synth alongside a slurring drum beat was complicated at times for my ear to follow. So refreshing, ‘Weeds through the Rind’ is brimming with bright jumping acoustics and sparkling, bleeping synth effects reminding me of shooting stars. Webb’s vocals fit well against the guitar’s rhythm but the synth really stands out in this track. ‘Schlager’ is a really nice track to end the album, it’s just really easygoing, smooth and easy to follow and reminds of a nice sunset at the end of the day. The guitar in this track has this really nice, homely sound that almost takes you instantly back to those late summer afternoons.