Henry Rollins has probably been wrong once or twice in his life, but his love for Sydney garage champs Straight Arrows does not constitute one of those times. Full of slop-rock sparkle and melodic charm, On Top! is the third album from this stellar four-piece; we put some questions to frontman Owen Penglis about how it came together.
21st Century contains the lyric “But it’s cool cos my mind’s a garbage bag.” How often do you take out the mental trash?
Not as much as I should. It’s piling up and the flies are starting to lay eggs again. Probably time to write another album, or buy a bong.
Did this song begin with Adam’s flickety beat, or the superb guitar riff?
I can’t remember! I probably came up with the beat and forced Adam to practice it. He can almost play it now.
Is the tag hanging off your guitar the one the guitar shop man put on it to indicate its price?
I’m still hoping to return the guitar to the shop when this ‘guitar music’ fad passes.
The album was produced and mixed by you; is it a possessive thing (‘don’t touch my stuff’) or do you think objectivity is overrated?
I’ve got a pretty vivd picture of how I want the record to sound before we start. I don’t think anyone else deserves to be punished with that.
In the first post-chorus of The One, there are some shrieks which slide high to low, which could be someone’s voice (the backing vocals throughout the rest of the song would suggest that’s the case) but it’s so very high I wonder who’s got the pipes?
Al could probably sing that high, but that’s a theremin. Fun fact: as a kid I toured as the theremin player for modern rock band Youthgroup for a couple of years, with a theremin I built out of a kit from a catalogue.
The harmonica in I Don’t is very Dumb Things. What’s the secret to that sound?
Would you like to say something nice about your pal SPOD?
I love SPOD. We all love SPOD. Me and him mixed the first Straight Arrows LP together but spent most of the time skating the half pipe he’d built in his warehouse loungeroom. That’s how you mix a record.
On Top! is out October 26 via Rice Is Nice.
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