It’s long been a thing that Brisbane music is linked directly to its cleverly “council approved” slogan of the sunshine state. Every critic both here and abroad has made the bold assumption that everyone that lives here and creates music is in someway a fan of all things sun, summer and sunshine. I’ve always felt like calling bullshit on this because quite frankly the most beautiful part of Brisbane and its atmosphere is between June and August when winter is at full bloom. There is indeed a different kind of sunshine in the sky and the days feel like they have purpose and longevity. You want to be outside in the fresh icy breeze falling in love, collecting new friends all while dining at the sidewalk café where you get your favourite cup of coffee and butter pecan ice-cream cone. I always have the best time in Winter and get so much living done as opposed to the summer when all I want to do is avoid the fucking beach, any local patriotic Australian human being, people in board shorts and thongs, BBQ’s and the tradition of just being a good bloke who likes a cold beer or two. I hate that version of Brisbane and refuse to buy into the summer pop myth and that Brisbane is at its best when we’re reminded that we live in the hottest fucking place on earth, fuck that – give me an air conditioned nightmare any day of the week.
All of that is a rather verbose way for me to correct the assumption that people make about We All Want To and their music. I’ve been a life long fan of the pop music made by Tim Steward and although his voice and extremely right on way of colliding chords on a guitar always make me think of Brisbane, it isn’t the sun, heat or the beach that comes rushing to me. It is all of the amazingly mindless good times I’ve had during a Brisbane winter. All of the hit and run romances, backyard parties huddled around a fire, live music, living in Paddington (when all of the hip cool art humans lived there) and strong human connections I’ve made. That has always been one of We All Want To’s many strong points, the way they could remind me of all that is glorious about breathing oxygen in this location.
On the bands third record “The Haze” We All Want To continue to do that and more. After the emotionally rich “Come Up Invisible” the next step was to always get more economical with the arrangements. It took me a lot of listening for “The Haze” to truly click and it is an ode to the strong songwriting of Steward that it finally settled in and found a place in my heart. There is a lot of looking back on the past lyrically with both wisdom and relief but also with hints of despair and a deep yearning to escape back to the freedom of youthful exploration. This kind of ache suits my current state of mind where I seem to be both mourning and celebrating the dirge of getting older. The production is once again supremely divine with full marks and all credit going to the dark horse Darek Mudge who proves that he is the only producer / engineer in Brisbane truly capable of making a bands music soar to places it wouldn’t have been able to if it had been captured by anyone else. He truly is the secret weapon to the effective communication of all that is great about We All Want To and their sound.
The “Come Up Invisible” experience was such an intense one that it was always going to be a hard task to follow it up but if anything “The Haze” supersedes it by reigning in its strengths and amplifying those dynamics into shorter more concise movements of music. It is simply just a great rock record that has the ability to soundtrack the isolated moment of reflection or the rapturous moment of celebration with all of the humans at the party. The record is typically Brisbane in all the good ways and as time goes on there is every chance that a new generation of humans will worship We All Want To the way they did The Go Betweens.
It may be called and touted as the perfect “summer record” by all of the other music review critic humans but for me “The Haze” is the album you listen to when you get the tracksuit out and put the flannel sheets on the bed ready for the snug as a fucking bug comfort that is the winter morning sleep in.
8 Cassette Tapes Out Of 10
By: Dan Newton