When there’s an economic downturn, it’s usually followed with an almighty surge in creativity. Perhaps it’s the lack of resources that spurs our creative minds, or a certain need that’s only discovered when we’re without an abundance of time and money. Nowhere is this more evident than in the stripped back, garage rock movement that’s been sweeping through Melbourne since the emergence of Eddy Current Suppression Ring, The Twerps and Dick Diver a few years ago. And while they weren’t the first to break through the wall in the garage revival, they’re charming their way into our wider conscience. Why? Because they embrace the tiny imperfections and poetic blushes that occur during an unscripted performance, and they’re finding a new reality well outside the realm of auto tune and melodyne. [fold] One of Melbourne’s newest garage rock bands brings together members from Dick Diver, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The Twerps on a project that encompasses the genre, but adds a certain melodic flair. Boomgates’ lead singers Steph Hughes (Dick Diver) and Brendan Huntley (Eddy Current Suppression Ring) met at a house party one night in Melbourne and, as Huntley explains, the relationship started with a favour.
“I met Steph about six years ago at a party where she'd lost her watch,” he recalls. “I helped her try and find it. We became friends and would get together and jam.”
The band grew organically via sporadic Thursday night jam sessions. “Although we'd jammed with other friends along the way, it was only when the five of us came together that it finally felt like a band,” says Huntley, “an energy we were all stoked with.”
In describing the band, Huntley offers a lucid analogy. “Boomgates is like a tomato plant. You plant the seeds and watch it grow. It's a seasonal thing. We can’t do it all the time, because we've all got other things going on, but when the fruit is ripe and it's good to eat, we eat,” he says.
What makes Boomgates most attractive is the fact that they’re not hiding behind anything. On their debut record, Double Natural, you can hear slight missteps scattered throughout the recording. Sometimes it’s the minute imperfections in a harmony or in the phrasing of a few words, but whatever the case, you can tell that it’s been recorded and mixed on a budget. “We recorded Double Natural in a big pale pink church in North Melbourne on a very hot day with our friend Alex MacFarlane,” says Huntley. “We later mixed it in his bedroom with the help of my good pal Mikey Young.”
Boomgates released their debut on Bedroom Suck Records and have since sold out of the vinyl LP pressing. Their video for Whispering or Singing continues the do-it-yourself dynamic. It’s a uniquely Australian song, which evokes strong imagery of suburban Melbourne. It moves you in the same way as Paul Kelly and The Church, in that you can really feel where it’s come from and relate to its unpretentious charm.
See Boomgates play this weekend as they begin their national tour at Sydney’s GoodGod Small Club on Saturday November 10.
Watch the film clip for Whispering or Singing here: