The past decade has been fertile for the Aussie underground, with a new wave of guitar bands soaking up their not to distant indie past and melding it with wafts of US and UK jangle-pop. Francis Tait has spent some time bouncing between live lineups of quite a few Aussie ramblers over the past few years (The Vacant Smiles, Miller Jukes) but now he’s heading up his own crew as Quality Used Cars. The band immediately separates from a good swath of Tait’s peers, fusing the scuffed OZ indie to a rain-soaked American country twang. While Francis’ vocals don’t necessary fade into the horizon — bringing to mind the wordy wryness of Scott and Charlene’s Wedding and Courtney Barnett — the songs themselves are adorned with plenty of studio comforts that cradle his warbled croon. Pillowy guitars, soft-hearted synths, and amber-hued background vocals all lay out a melancholy wonderland within the confines of the twelve inches of Good Days / Bad Days.
Over these past few years I think I’ve become so used to the paired-down Aussie sound that entering the fertile ground of Good Days / Bad Days is like a cool drink of water after not realizing how parched you’ve become. Tait’s past has seen him wander through more than a few stylistic eddies and while the country shadow looms large, there’s some folk and even a lilt of ‘50s vocal pop at play here. Like the confessional curiosity from Martin Frawley a few years back, this is one of those records that just sits in the brain and ruminates — a Sunday morning companion, an end of the night tab closer. It’s a strong debut that isn’t shy about embracing its own love, and consumption of music as a means of finding one’s way in life. Maybe what’s most striking is that Tait seems like one more obsessive listener reasoning his woes through the dusted needle. We can sense one of our own.
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