In 2017, Brisbane five-piece The Belligerents are gearing up to release from their long-awaited debut album, Science Fiction.
Of course, “long-awaited” is a PR cliché, but in the case of the Belligerents it might actually be true. Though the band first formed in 2010, it’s only now that they’ve gotten round to their debut long-player.
But why rush? It’s not like they’ve been idle this whole time. There’s was the ‘In My Way’ Single, the Outside:Inside EP, national tours and Like a Version appearances. By taking it slow—refining their sound, building their fanbase—the Belligerents have laid the foundations for an album they love, and can be proud of. After all, you only make one debut album, and they wanted to make a debut worth waiting for.
When the time came, the band got away. The Belligerents hired a farm on a remote island two hours out of Brisbane, and converted the farmhouse into a temporary studio. Mornings were spent surfing and swimming, and evenings turned into late nights as they experimented with weird sounds and new ideas that went right back into the next day’s writing and recording. After such a long wait, everyone was raring to go—and that excitement shines through on the album.
Two weeks of this idyllic lifestyle was all it took to distil six years of the Belligerents into one album. Science Fiction is more mature and refined than their previous singles, sure. But it still sparks and crackles with excitement and surprise, with the restless spirit of a band, captured in the moment of making the music they want to hear.
Their latest single ‘Caroline’ sits right in the middle of the album. In their own words, it’s “a backwards sort of love song about a person that you know you’re never going to be with”. But with the Belligerents, this typical lover’s lament goes places. Beginning with jaunty pulsing organ, you’d peg it as a psychedelic strain of chamber pop—before a chorus splits the whole thing open and leaves you in a technicolour pastoral wonderland. Just as you’re floating back down to earth, the last third kicks into a four-to-the-floor hippie freakout, the Summer of Love ‘67 and the Summer of Love ‘89 finally meeting in the rave tent at Woodstock.
Like ‘Caroline’, Science Fiction is full of left turns and tangents. It has been a long time coming, but it’s worth the wait.
Science Fiction is due out in the latter half of 2017.