Thursday, March 5, 2015

“Alison” by The Occupants – A Song Review

    When a band wanders away from the elements that first attracted your attention to their sound, it is typically a little disappointing – but not always. When a band is working hard to make its mark, money is typically in such short supply that it isn’t realistic to consider donating a portion of the band's income to a cause, regardless of the worthiness of that cause. The Occupants are not a typical band.
     The Occupants released “Alison” this week. The song is more vocal-centric than earlier favorites by the band. The driving, high energy combination of percussion and guitar, which is the signature of the band’s sound, isn’t front and center at any point of “Alison.” In its place is a pensive questioning about a situation that’s “going wrong,” with a saxophone helping the vocal processing convey the emotional level attached to the questioning.
     The Occupants had two songs in the Indie Obsessive ‘Top Songs of 2014’ - “Hindsight” and “Streets.” The Australian band may have multiple songs in this year’s list as well.

     An update: After reading the post, a contributor (Clark G.) sent the below message:
     "Love the song and the band. But it's the lyrics that I'm focused on most. It sounds like it's about a soldier longing for his girl as the invasion of Gallipoli goes wrong and he realizes he may not ever see her again. No wonder the producers of the TV series, meant to inspire nationalism, rejected the song. It reminds me of the song "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil, in that both songs criticize their country's political twisting of the truth."

     A press release regarding “Alison” is pasted after the Soundcloud version of the song. It describes the generous donation of fifty percent of the proceeds to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

     “Alison” by The Occupants

     The press release is pasted below:

In mid 2014 The Occupants were approached to write a song under the proviso it was to be included in the soundtrack to an upcoming TV series about Gallipoli. The band dove straight into developing, refining and steering the demo they had in the direction of Gallipoli, and ‘Alison’ was born. The band finished the track, but during the process the soundtrack deal itself somehow evaporated and the need for their song was no longer required.  

Over the years the ANZAC story has been commoditised, appropriated, co-opted and over-marketed. Somewhere along the way, it also became a thing that politicians saluted to when they wanted to ring the ‘true Aussie patriot’ bell in the hope that the heroism of ANZAC would rub off by association.  “I guess we, as a band, like to think that if there is a genuine stand to make now, then it’s in helping people who are fleeing war, violence, conflict and persecution overseas in this day and age. That might be something worth fighting for, even if our current government doesn’t think so,” says front man Flynn Gower.

With that in mind, the band are going to donate half of all sales of  ‘Alison’ to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. “Given the amount of over-mythologising and flat-out jingoism that already exists around the subject matter of Gallipoli, we just didn’t want people to think this was some cynical ploy to cash in on all that,” explains Flynn.

With the song Alison, The Occupants have taken the liberty of experimenting with the freedom first offered by such an expressive and emotive mandate, while at the same time acknowledging the confined scope of the Gallipoli storyline serving as a kind of parameter-based challenge. Returning to the studio with producer Forrester Savell at Byron Bay’s Music Farm Studios.

Alison is available on iTunes now via Pavement Records HERE.

For further information about The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and the work they do, go here:

1 comment:

  1. So cool to read about the story behind the song. Adds so much more meaning to it. I listen to the Hindsight ep most days so I was pretty excited when this new song came out.