Clowns – Nature/Nurture
Released: April 12th, 2019
Stevie Williams // Vocals
Jake Laderman // Drums
Jarrod Goon // Guitar
William Robinson // Guitar
Hanny J // Bass, Vocals
“I’m Not Right is the quintessential, pre Sunday sesh amp-up soundtrack, best played loud at the excessive ‘neighbours-are-gonna-call-the cops’ level.”
I wrote this quote some 6 years ago following Clowns’ debut album and the band have since gone from strength to strength. Three albums into their careers, amongst slots on the biggest stages across Europe and the U.S, headline shows around Australia, a slot on the inaugural Download Festival down under, Melbourne’s Clowns now drop, album number 4, Nature/Nurture. It is everything you would want from a Clowns album. It has elements from their debut album, I’m Not Right, with that in your face punk/hard-core energy. It has elements of some of the mayhem heard on album number two, 2015’s Bad Blood and it most definitely has elements of their 2017 epic, Lucid Again, where they stretched the boundaries of their punk weaponry by introducing a more mature approach to their songwriting and its delivery.
Something else happened to Clowns in 2017 with the introduction of Brisbane guitarist/vocalist Hanny J to their ranks. Her more soulful backing vocals and melody elevated the band and almost challenged them to attack their punk upbringing in a slightly different way incorporating more psychedelic, more depth and they have thrived because of it. The “neighbours are gonna call the cops levels” is still there but there’s more love, more musicianship, more creativity. Simply put, Clowns are here to stay as evident by their recent signing to international punk powerhouse, Fat Wreck Chords. If that wasn’t enough, locally, they’ve created their own record label, Damage Records Co. Hell, they even made their own brand of hot sauce!
‘Bland is the New Black’ kicks off the new album, a familiar sounding trippy riff that slides nicely into a frenetic pace to immediately grab your attention. ‘Soul For Sale’ winds back the energy slightly to almost a beachy chilled “riff off” between Jarrod Goon and William Robinson’s guitars before that patent Stevie Williams scream enters the fray and away we go on another Clowns hyperactive punk romp. Hanny J helps out on next track, ‘Freezing in the Sun’ as the band stroll back into almost pop-punk land. Either way, a nice tempo change prior to the more chaotic, ‘Nature’, a track that sees Hanny J in screamo-mode as it rollicks a long before its hallucinatory conclusion. One of the highlight tracks of the album.
Singles, ‘I Wanna Feel Again’ and ‘I Shaved My Legs For You’ follow up, the former a slow build with Williams showcasing a more subtle side before Clowns launch into another gear and propel the track into a punk wet dream. ‘1.19’ provides a short minute and a half of trippy mayhem and leads fluently into ‘Prick’ as the band call out some douche from another band who thought they were cooler than what he actually was. A fun song. The band conclude with ‘Nurture’ a slow build 5 minute finisher complete with middle eastern influences, psychedelic sounds, punk riffage, Williams’ schizophrenic vocals and some Hanny J soul. Yep, it’s a lot to take in and it’s well worth the patience.
Nature/Nurture is another gem from Clowns who just keep on making great albums. I can’t say this album is better than their last album or the one prior to that or the ones prior to that, as they are all fucking great. One thing I will say is that Nature/Nurture is energetic, it’s begging to be played loud, it’ll inspire and it will get your mates asking, “who’s this on the stereo”!? I have no doubt, Clowns will one day get the recognition they deserve for punk music in this country, until such time, I’ll keep telling all in sundry how fucking good they are! Get on board!
Clowns – Nature/Nurture track listing
- Bland Is The New Black
- Soul For Sale
- Freezing In The Sun
- I Wanna Feel Again
- I Shaved My Legs For You
- Prey For Us
- May I Be Exhumed?
Nature/Nurture is available now.
On April 13 (tomorrow!), Clowns will be performing an in-store set at Poison City Records in Melbourne for Record Store Day. Purchasing their album there comes with a free hot sauce sample, and you can check out more information here.
Review by Jim ‘Plugga’ Birkin