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Recognise this ’80s Aussie pop star?

POPPseudo Echo, After Party(Independent) ***1/2This is not your father’s Pseudo Echo. Brian Canham is a one-man band nowadays, and like Pet Shop Boys he’s reinvented himself for the new millennium. It even comes off sounding like those London lads on tracks such as All of the Above. There’s the faintest hint of a Funky Town…

POP

Pseudo Echo, After Party

(Independent) ***1/2

This is not your father’s Pseudo Echo. Brian Canham is a one-man band nowadays, and like Pet Shop Boys he’s reinvented himself for the new millennium. It even comes off sounding like those London lads on tracks such as All of the Above. There’s the faintest hint of a Funky Town riff on I’m Alright, while on the disco-like Wedge-Tail he commands: “Be whatever you want to be!” There’s the smooth ambience of New is the Way, and cuts such as Heaven and Formotion are tailor-made for the dancefloor. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without revisiting some old classics, including a funky “chill version” of Love an Adventure.

ROCK

The Screaming Jets, Bitter Pill (EP)

(Dinner For Wolves) ****

The coronavirus crisis has been a bitter pill for the music industry, and like most artists The Screaming Jets have been forced to change plans and adapt to the new normal. The result is this iso-EP with each band member recorded remotely. (It’s actually frontman Dave Gleeson’s second live release within a month, along with The Angels’ Dark Room Recharged.) The limitations of the process mean all the tracks are at least partially unplugged, but that doesn’t stop the occasional electric-guitar flourish when it counts. Standouts include the Boys Next Door cover Shivers (a killer in any format) and bassist Paul Woseen’s vocals on Friend of Mine.

POP

Sarah Goodwin, If I Revealed (EP)

(Independent) ***

It can be tempting to stereotype regional Queensland artists as country or blues, but Brisbane-via-Rockhampton-and-Mackay singer-songwriter Sarah Goodwin is only the latest reminder that they know no genre limits. The 24-year-old has produced a pop EP that could cut it with any act from the big smoke. In fact, her vocal style recalls that of Norway’s Sigrid with her tales of love and loss. She explores the various emotional stages, from coveting (Play Pretend) to being in the pink (Look Forward To), to heartbreak (the standout wall-of-synth Darker Shades) and the struggle to move on (Waste My Time). The lyrics are smart, her voice sublime and the music slick, thanks to Veronicas and Sheppard producer Stuart Stuart.

ALT-FOLK

August River Band, Thank You Pain

(Independent) ***1/2

Launched last week at The Tivoli, this Brisbane trio’s debut album showcases a sound that walks a fine line between genres. Lil Burrows’ violin gives the four-piece almost a string-band quality, while frontman Eev Ferreira has a vocal style somewhere between Eddie Vedder and Bernard Fanning, and drummer Gerard Kerr rounds out the line-up. As for the songs, they’re reflections on spirituality and human relationships. Cupid’s .45 and opener Hallowed Be are cut from the same cloth, the latter switching tempos, while The Dead I Raised’s backbeat similarly keeps things interesting. The rolling rhythm of The Gift is reminiscent of Coldplay’s Shiver, then there’s the orchestral gravitas of In My Arms.

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