LOSER- Mindless Joy
Released: February 14th, 2020
LOSER Line up:
Tim Maxwell | Vocals | Guitar
Chris Cowburn | Drums
Craig Selak | Bass
Will Maxwell | Guitar
Jake Farrugia | Guitar
Most people have a bygone era they wistfully wish they grew up in, many times for the music. For me, this musical era is the nineties. So many great bands came from this era, grunge fashion was terrific, and in my very humble opinion the 1996 Hottest 100 was one of the best. I was alive in the nineties, but I was only a baby. I was still lucky enough to grow up with the nineties greats; my parents used to play Nirvana songs in their cover band. So it was inevitable that I was going to love LOSER, a guitar band with influences steeped in the nineties, and I just had to get my hands on their latest offering Mindless Joy.
The album starts with the groovy refrains of the title track ‘Mindless Joy’. While this song is upbeat and has a Crowded House vibe to the beginning of it, it introduces the heavy subject matter and themes of the album. The song says “You can’t ignore the fate that lies within your hands / We’re working on our minds to change our future plans.” Frontman Tim Maxwell explains that this is about our reliance on technology and the fact that it is taking over our lives. Speaking to Wall of Sound, Maxwell said, “Learning about Elon Musk and the future, like MirrorLink and putting brain implants in to change you and being able to live forever; I just find that so interesting. We’re not far off it; everybody’s already glued to their phone and can’t really communicate properly anymore.”
Next up is the cathartic, outpouring of feelings aptly titled ‘Get It All Out’ which sees Maxwell talking about anxiety and depression and the effect the way we communicate in this day and age is having on this. The song says, “Something’s wrong again / what does it take to get it all out?” and Maxwell explains that the song is him not being scared to put his feelings out into the world anymore. He says he feels that the band has always touched on these issues but for this album he felt more mature and ready to be more real.
This album has absolutely no lowlights, and almost every song is a highlight. There’s the slow jam ‘Erase Me’ that sees Maxwell’s vocals take on a Paul Dempsey-like quality and includes beautiful harmonies. Again this song has poignant lyrics saying “Out of the blue tonight / something don’t feel so right / I’m bored and I’m lazy, enough to erase me” and has fantastically fuzzy guitars. Then there is the “Foo Fighters stadium rock” jam ‘Golden Things’ which talks about wanting to maintain creative control even if that means not cracking commercial success (which is something I don’t think is going to be an issue for this band moving forward). The band explained that this song is about them staying true to who they are and not changing for anybody. They are just going to keep doing what they love even if it takes a while for their music to get out there.
Following the tradition of bangers, there is ‘Melting’ that has a massive wall of guitars in the chorus and ‘Come To Terms (Meditate)’ which starts chilled but quickly turns into a colossal grunge anthem that will have audiences moshing. ‘Middle of Nowhere’ is yet another incredible song and felt to me like it was heavy with influence from Crowded House and old school Aussie (yes, I am aware Crowded House aren’t technically Australian) rock and roll vibes. This song is one you would listen to in the car heading on a road trip to see the rellies for Christmas or with your friends on the way to a summer music festival. It is such a great song full of nostalgia. I was lucky enough to speak to Maxwell about the album and asked about the Crowded House vibes I was picking up, to which he replied “Yeah they’re a huge influence on me! And funnily enough, when I was writing, I was listening to heaps of Crowded House. I love Neil Finn, and I love all of his melodies, and I think they ring true in some of the songs”.
My favourite on the album is ‘Generate’ which showcases the talents of the entire band and has such a catchy chorus. It also includes fantastic guitar solos and a beautiful acoustic and electric guitar moment that has a Pink Floyd feel to it. This part of the song gives me goosebumps! Another favourite is ‘Dopamine’ which starts as a slow burner with rich, warm guitars and continually changes from quiet guitar and vocal sections to vast walls of sounds with all three guitars and pounding drums. This song is a crashing build-up and a perfect end to the album.
I usually have a lot of feelings and typically have a lot to say, but this album is just so fantastic that it is almost rendering me speechless (after 900ish words, righto..). I feel like everything I am trying to explain about this album just isn’t doing it justice. Maxwell with the other two guitarists, his brother Will and Jake Farrugia, along with Craig Selak on bass and Chris Cowburn on drums make such an incredible sound and it is something that has to be heard to be truly appreciated. This album makes me feel a lot of good feelings that I am struggling to explain, and I think that is a sign of a fantastic album. I think it is also really telling that I hadn’t listened to the album for a week or so and when I played it again tonight, I easily hummed along with the catchy melodies that I remembered straight away.
Maxwell said that he wanted this album to still be guitar music but wanted to showcase more ambition and depth. He doesn’t want LOSER to just be a pop-punk band that doesn’t progress, and I genuinely believe this has been achieved. To understand what I am feeling, you need to listen to this album but make sure you don your best flannelette shirt and baggy jeans while you do.
The band have let it slip that they have already got a lot of the next album ready to go and LOSER are set for an Aussie music takeover. Don’t sleep on these guys; otherwise, you’ll be sorry that you did.
LOSER – Mindless Joy tracklisting:
- Mindless Joy
- Get It All Out
- Erase Me
- Golden Things
- Come To Terms (Meditate)
- Out Of Luck
- Middle of Nowhere