I’ve always liked the idea of transporting my vegemite sang and muesli bar in a compartmentalised, carbon neutral (obviously) lunchbox, but in reality I just shovel last night’s pizza into a plastic bag and hope for the best. I have no idea how Joe Saxby, Josh Coxon or Eddie L’Estrange pack their sammiches or why a lunchbox is relevant to their debut collection of tracks as These Guy, and to be honest I’m not sure they do either. And that’s ok, we’re all just figuring it out and that’s fine.
Lunchbox begins with ‘The End’, where These Guy’s broad spectrum of alt-pop influences bleed together in a spin cycle of sounds that unfold over the album’s duration. ‘Coming Around‘ is the first punctuation point and one of the earliest singles, combining the indie pop ethos and sad boi pathos in what is a foundation theme on Lunchbox. Quirky synth hooks bubble up on most tracks to buoy each pessimistic lyric, refusing to let Saxby be sad about things he is justifiably shitty about (see: closing track ‘The Main Thing’, an 11-minute sprawling psych middle finger to long distance relationships). Despite this, Lunchbox is a significant upswing in mood from These Guy’s debut EP when it was Saxby’s heavily overcast solo project.
Techno pop track ‘Biscuits’ and ‘The Main Thing’ have featured in These Guy’s live set for a while now, but hearing them packaged up on Lunchbox makes the pivot from “everything is doomed’ sad to “silver-lining” sad a whole lot sharper. There are just so many quirks built into each song it’s hard to keep track of the ideas, from the disco synth hooks, full fret shredding and sax solos on ‘Over Before it Begins’ to the jangle pop guitar melodies of ‘Suburban Restaurant’, one album could hardly provide enough space to flesh them out.
Yet it’s the clean execution of these ideas which propels These Guy above the white noise of cookie cutter indie pop, with lofty vocal melodies, frenzied instrumentals, delay-heavy synths and a generous peppering of guitar licks all balanced by clever production. Lunchbox is like a pleasant hallucinatory experience, you’ll go places you didn’t know existed and come out wondering where the hell you’ve been and how you can get back there.
Here’s a treat for youse ahead of the album’s launch on June 16th.
You can see this play out in all it’s technicolour glory at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge on July 15th.