Alex Bryant once discovered he had an exact namesake in Collingwood and sent him or her (he wasn’t sure) a letter with the challenge of a duel. He never received a response.
That story is irrelevant to the fact of Bryant’s band, Aleks and the Ramps, releasing the first single from the upcoming third album, but take a look at the clip Bryant made for Middle Aged Unicorn On Beach With Sunset and you’ll get some idea about how this Melbourne pop-maker’s mind works.
A fluffy pig on fire. Trampoline jumping. A singing flower. The band’s latest visual aid to accompany the supremely catchy, sparkly and heartfelt summer anthem doesn’t exactly follow a logical plot. “There’s no real solid concept behind it at all,” says Bryant. “I just didn’t want to put my face in it because I did that before in another music video I made for us and I spent a lot of time at the computer looking at my face and it was really unhealthy.”
The single marks something of a new dawn for Aleks and the Ramps. The band will be releasing their third album on their own following the collapse of their former label home Stomp. Along with the single, they’ve also just re-released their previous two albums, 2007’s Pisces vs Aquarius and 2009’s Midnight Believer, which are now available on iTunes for the first time.
Middle Aged Unicorn…, too, would suggest a fresh move into more solid pop song-writing forms. “It’s probably the most summery, upbeat pop song on the album,” Bryant reveals, going onto describe the rest of the record’s tracks as a mix of “slow and bleak”, upbeat and “spazz-out” moments.
The album has been marked for release on February 14 2012 – Valentine’s Day. But that, too, says less about what to expect than when the band’s members are all going to be in the country to launch it. “There’s no love songs on the album,” Bryant admits. “If you’re trying to woo someone, I wouldn’t put our music on.”
For all this illogical imagery and decision-making, Bryant has become known for creating some beautifully earnest songs. His deep, melancholy singing voice can be equally as poignant. But the juxtaposition of the heartfelt and the absurd isn’t entirely intentional, he reckons.
“We’re a pretty accidental, haphazard band. It’s kind of hard to say what we try to do; we kind of just do whatever a lot of the time. It is pretty weird – sometimes we’ll have songs that are heartfelt or even just bleak and depressing, but I can’t help it, absurdity or humour finds its way in there somehow.”
Case in point: the title of their new single. “I’m not really sure how we got to that,” he says. “It might have been inspired by an episode of 30 Rock… Everyone else in the band thought it was pretty stupid, but I don’t care.”
Aleks and the Ramps launch Middle Aged Unicorn On Beach With Sunset (out through Gaga Digi) with Near Myth and Seagull at the Buffalo Club on Thursday November 10.