TERRY is a latent man of mystery. Terry is also a band from Melbourne, Australia. Divide him in half and you split the genders, into quarters and you get Amy Hill (also of Constant Mongrel, School Of Radiant Living), Xanthe Waite (Mick Harvey Band, Primo), Zephyr Pavey (Eastlink, Total Control, Russell St Bombings) and Al Montfort (UV Race, Dick Diver, Total Control). Guitars, bass, drums, all four sing. Terry are busy people and Terry is a particularly active project too, having released two EPs and a full length album ('Terry HQ') last year on Upset The Rhythm. In 2017 it proved time to 'Remember Terry', whilst this summer Terry returns with 'I'm Terry'!
UTR125 | 7" | 4 tracks, 10 minutes | Buy
"What to do with a spud like you?" Melbourne post-punk wags Terry return this summer with their new EP 'Who's Terry?'. You can just make him out in his hobnail boots, peering from behind the sandwich board, wink, wink. Following on from last year's huge-sounding 'I'm Terry' album, this third EP from the band brings you right up to date with their wobbly politico-pop.
'Spud' is a class A toe-tapper that sees the band don fatigues and set their sights on the enemy. The rough and the tough, wrestled wrists and fools with crooked smiles all make an appearance as Terry sing as one over snare snaps and keyboard croaks. 'Bizzo and Tophat' follows with a stride across the underbelly, a thick slice of bop-heavy observation that gives way to one of Terry's most elegiac refrains... "holding on and going forth"! Their gang vocal approach never sounding more resolute. 'Eggs' then picks up the pace, a sure-footed romp that skips alongside prods of saxophone to join the parade.
'Drawn for Days' pulls the EP to a close, a sedate, melodic ponderance of strummy guitar, jangling bells and Amy and Xanthe's soft-sung vocals. "Haunted by the big and small, hunted hanging for the fancy fall". "I can't stand up" the band decry in unison as the track scales its peak and gives way to warping synth noise. 'Who's Terry' encapsulates what Terry does best, the queasy marriage of the upbeat and traumatic, the catchy instant and the nagging distance. Their alliterative lyrics always sharp as tacks, their sense of melody and beat sunk deep in the heart of now.
UTR111 | LP/CD | 10 tracks, 30 minutes | Buy
I'm going to set Carpe Diem as my alarm for the next week and see how that makes me feel. It will be replacing an alternation of Werewolves of London and Baby, It's You. After a week the familiarity might feel kind of insane but kind of nice. Ad nauseum to the coffee. Yeah! Terry is into repetition. Terry often feels like the daily grind but set inside a Loony Tune. They can be slightly nasty and violent, but funny at the same time. I laugh at Terry riffs a lot. The lyrics are droll, yes, but have you heard the riffs? It's like they're tickling you. It's like Terry has got his great big fingers under my arms. But this is all part of a strangely conceived plan. I would almost say that Terry is highly conceptual. Possibly the most conceptual band I've been around, possibly in my whole life. Like... what's really going on here? Why am I listening to jingles and feeling so moved?
My favourite songs on Terry's new album 'I'm Terry' (the band's third record in three years), are Under Reign, it's a creepy one, sandwiched between other new faves The Whip and Crimes. There's a theme of dominance and submission here, but kinda unremarkable and ignorable, like knowing you're enslaved by your streaming service but just gently putting that out of your mind for another week. Terry is domesticity. Terry romances the mundane. This is how romance ekes out a triumph amidst mundanity. That's what Billy Bragg's New England and Squeeze's Up The Junction do. Terry's suburban escapism moment is Ciao Goodbye. Listen to Ciao Goodbye on an arterial road under the yellow streetlights of a weeknight. Terry has never been this beautiful. Terry may never be beautiful again, definitely not on this record.
That's what I like about Terry, there are few rules in Terry's world. They seem to make a song out of whatever sounds good to them. I literally don't know what they'll do next. They aren't a genre study. The only stylistic consistency is in their hat wear. I've never been in a band like this. I've been in a band that simultaneously studied genre and also hats. But never only hats. Have you noticed the reggae undercurrent in Terry? There is one. This is good. Terry are kinda like Steely Dan or 10cc. Both bands make me queasy after a certain point. Terry probably also make me a bit queasy, singing about police beatings and nationalism and all that. But they're not out to hurt you. They're like the kindly bearer of bad news. There's some awful stuff going on in the world. Terry knows. Terry puts it in terms that speak to me. It's a tragicomedy. I want to laugh and sometimes I want to consider crying. But I don't think I will. I'm pretty certain Terry isn't perverse, they're just the harbinger of the encroaching perverse world. I'm pretty certain Terry wants to be my friend, and your friend. Our friend, Terry.
UTR097 | LP/CD | 10 tracks, 30 minutes | Buy
After returning from summer 2016's European tour, Terry set about writing a new album of songs. These are now grouped together as 'Remember Terry', an album full of wish fulfilment, critiqued characters, memorial muscle and historical hustle.'Start The Tape' is a not quite two-minute careen through what Terry are best known for; gang vocals, chased-down melodies and acerbic commentary. "The Boys in Blue are no nonsense, but no nonsense just won't hold up" they assert throughout the song, amid unbridled drum rolls and keyboard sirens.
Terry draw on their everyday realities to make personal conclusions; "I can't live here, I can't leave here" they collectively sing through the strummed guitars and skittling synths of 'Heavin Heavies'. Somehow the serious nature of the themes handled in their songs are only further emphasised by the tuneful, arguably 'sing-along' treatment Terry usually employ. 'Give Up The Crown', 'The Colonel' and 'Gun' are other prime examples of this, packed full of assembled vocal harmonies, contagious riffs and rhetoric.
With tracks like 'Glory' and 'Homage', Terry allow us for the first time to see a more laid-back side of his personality. Supplemented with fluorescing synth lines and adopting an unhurried pace, both songs lull you into a false sense of pleasantry, only to pack a greater punch when lyrics like "Off his bloody head goes" or "No head, no choice, no land, no time, no crime, no good" surface. 'Take Me To The City' is a similarly evocative stroll through the "bright night city lights", with Amy and Xanthe listing their nightlife observations over languorous guitar lines and programmed drums. Their "all they talk about.." refrain drifts off effortlessly into dazed disclosures. Terry prefer to make a profound point in a quiet way, hectoring bypassed for self-revelation. The truth is in there, just skating below the surface of their glammy, country-stepping punk/pop odysseys, we only have to listen carefully.
'Remember Terry' is a fitting follow-up to last year's celebrated debut album. Ideas are pursued and new ground explored. Throughout this expansion of sound and subject-matter though, Terry remain committed to telling it straight, reporting from the frontline of the political made personal. 'Remember Terry' was recorded by Terry at Grace Lane and Terry HQ through the first few months of 2017. Digitised by Nick Kuceli. Mixed and Mastered by Mikey Young.
UTR092 | 7" | 3 tracks, 8 minutes | Buy
Terry's excellent second seven inch with three new songs exploring themes of patriarchy in politics, mass consumption versus lifestyle choices and the dating scene. '8 Girls' is a pop nugget that references female politicians including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, controversial leader of the One Nation party Pauline Hanson and Senators Penny Wong and Jacqui Lambie, who on the cover looks to be dressed as a sumo wrestler.Originally released (and long sold out) by the excellent Aarght records in Australia, this version has new Euro-tour themed artwork and appears on transparent vinyl, limited to 400 copies!
UTR084 | LP/CD | 10 tracks, 24 minutes | Buy
Love is a highway, but you're not likely to find Terry there anymore.
He's on the train. Terry saw the light, and he put on his sunhat.
'If you're carsick, get outta the car!'
There's only room for one big pug in this doggy daycare.
Terry's taken to the night.
Thank you nurse, I'll see myself out.
LOOK! There he is, peeping through the cracks in your screen.
Nuanced. Mercurial. Free.
Blowing you a kiss.
Marcel Marceau, Shmarshel Shmarsheau!
But Terry... How unforgettable.
What will you do when the cloud gives way?
When the map leads you to a pile of potatoes?
We wuz wrong.
Hit me with your algorithm stick!
Siri, is death an illusion?
Siri, am I locked in a prison of my own making?
Don't pull that thread kiddo.
Siri's gone. Talk about truth!
But when you're ready for real answers...
Talk about TERRY.
TALK ABOUT TERRY
UTR074 | 7" | 3 tracks, 7 minutes | Buy
Terry is getting ready, combing his hair, buttoning his jacket, turning the key in the door. "I'm doing fine," sings Terry out loud, he knows.
Divide him into four and you get Al Montfort (UV Race, Total Control, Dick Diver etc.), Amy Hill (Constant Mongrel, School Of Radiant Living), Xanthe Waite (Mick Harvey Band) and Zephyr Pavey (Eastlink, Total Control, Russell Street Bombings).
Inevitably, Terry likes to make a noise. Drums, guitars and all his voices come into play, making a solid raft for Terry's melancholic musings to navigate the languid rapids. This all unravels at its own pace, conducting a conversation with the commonplace.
'Talk About Terry' marks the band's first venture into the recorded domain collecting together three of the greatest misshapen glam pop tunes Melbourne, Australia has to offer. Let's sit up at the table. Let's start the dialogue now, as Terry is well on his way.
"White denim, Explorer Socks, Uber, Gore-Tex, the Internet. We live in an information age but we are lonely Terry. We can't rack up what you've got. Tell me about the singles night on the Pyrenees highway. Tell me about those bad choices, about 'The Bin' and how we dance around it. Teach me about yearning, indignation. Teach me, that I may learn for myself. I'm a lady with a fork in a world of gravy. Get me a spoon Terry. Teach me to fish."
- Steph Hughes