Rusted Tongue are a Melbourne based sextet, serving up folk-punk laced with gravel and honey on a rusted platter. The band has been around a few years and has played on some impressive lineups with both local and international bands including psychobilly punk rock royalty the Nekromantix (Denmark) and Jetboys (Japan). The band has played some really interesting shows over the last few years like the Sea Shepherd Ocean Defence Tour and HOBOFOPO 2019 as well as doing shows to raise money for various good causes like the Goongerah Wombat Orphanage in East Gippsland.
The band had already started working on the momentum for the release of their debut EP, playing at the Pride of our Footscray Community Bar and Cafe Gummo in February, they featured on a podcast called ‘Foxx On The Wire‘ and two of them (Fran and Steph) were even on ABC Gippsland 100.7 fm having a chat and performing some acoustic songs. On International Women’s Day, Rusted Tongue released a single ‘Good Men‘ from the EP.
The launch show planned for the 27th of March was unfortunately postponed and the band released its EP on the 20th of March 2020. The EP was recorded in August and September 2019 at Cellar Sessions Recording Studio in Coburg, Victoria, Australia.
The five-track EP is a little under 20 minutes of incredible music, kicking off with a track called ‘Careless‘ (2:51) that has an infectious and upbeat sound with elements of ska. The vocal pattern in the verse leaves room for music fills and the song is jam-packed with moving parts so at times might feel a little crowded. It’s very well written and it serves as a good introduction to the EP giving listeners a glimpse at the storytelling style of their lyrics. The next song ‘Truest Grit‘ (3:02) starts with a ukulele then a 1, 2, 3, 4 count before the rest of the band joins in, the intro provides a very brief sense of familiarity before the wonderfully unique style of the band is presented again, the fiddle playing in this track is exceptional and that solo is an amazing display of technical ability on the instrument. I really like the way the energy picks up towards the end.
As we hit the middle track ‘Black Saturday (Ashes)‘ we are struck by something different. Its got a slower, sad and reflective feel to it. This song’s structure seems to hang on a country/folk guitar part and the other strings during the intro really add to the atmosphere. The vocals in the verse part have a sad quality to them and the melody still leaves room for the instruments to add fills. It is the longest song on the EP clocking in at 4:53 but at no point does it feel like it should’ve been shorter. I can really appreciate the musicianship on display in this track as the instruments offer up parts that build energy or well-crafted fills that carry a little melody on their own. At times the vocals are supported by the instruments but at other times it’s like those parts are taking turns contributing to the song structure.
The fourth track is called ‘Infallible You‘ (2:37) is perhaps the most accessible for a mainstream crowd although lyrically its got a very punk edge. It starts with a ukulele and vocals for a few bars before the rest of the band joins in, the transition is similar to the last song. The vocal melody in the chorus really adds to the appeal, it is very catchy and feels like it invites you to sing along. The song has a breakdown and build-up part that is simplistic yet enjoyable which leads back into the chorus parts, its a familiar yet enjoyable song structure. I really love the sneaky bit at the last second, it was unexpected. The final song is ‘Good Men‘ (3:58) which has a huge amount of both energy and creativity. The song starts with guitar and vocals which set in motion a chuggy rhythm. When the rest of the band joins in, the drums add to the driving force of the song, even the backup vocal chants of “what do they say” adds to this chuggy element. Every instrument has a chance to shine in this song with a few taking turns in a breakdown part of the song. The fiddle towards the end offers up one of the most moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard. If you look back through the bands Facebook page there is a post with this song performed live in March 2019 at the Sydney Road Street Festival
In summary this EP has a lot going on with all sorts of interesting things to capture a musicians attention. The song structures are familiar enough for music lovers to grasp and sing along to, with lyrical content that has a personal touch as well as delivering a message.
Rusted Tongue are Fran Tanner – trumpet/ukulele/vocals
Steph Sabrinskas – guitar/vocals
Kat Chish – fiddleEva Mellors – bass guitar
Lauren Garcia – clarinet/bass clarinet/cello
Jordan Critchley – drums
Facebook Link https://www.facebook.com/RustedTongue/
Bandcamp Link http://rustedtongue.bandcamp.com/album/rusted-tongue