100 for 2000 – #56. Peabody – The New Violence

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #6. Peabody – The New Violence
(NonZero)

I said previously about Peabody that I was one of their mates, but quickly became an adoring fan after their first album. That huge jump is overshadowed by the jump they made on their second album, the New Violence. This album is unbelievable.

The real meat of this record comes from it’s anger. And anger in music is a much abused emotion. It can seem childish. But Peabody were certainly angry, as was I. And in those dark times, this is just about the only record that tried to address it.

The big thing was John Howard. The fuckwit. And I’m not trying to be funny, or overly shocking, or making any other side points by calling him a fuckwit. He is a fuckwit. Yes, even to the level of George W Bush. He shared all the same traits.

Howard may have had more raw intelligence, but he never used it. He is the guy who if you started talking to at the pub, you’d back away and say “whatever you think old man” and thank fuck his generation is dying out. Pity the guy in power was one of the last. He tried to turn my country into an economic conservatism.

He’s also, let us not forget, a racist. I would call GWB blindly ignorant of most people, but I would not call him as actively and hatefully racist as John Howard. He has a view of a real Australia that absolutely and totally excluded me. When non whites got beaten up in the worse hate crimes I have ever personally saw with my own eyes, I had the leader of my own country go on TV and tell em what I saw was wrong. He did the same with the Cronulla riots.

His One Australia Policy (a dodgy document name if there ever was one) was his call to end multiculturalism in Australia. And yes, that was in 1988 and his view, in public, softened. But a decade later he would sell out multiculturalism by giving his party’s preferential votes to One Nation.

Not that The New Violence is in any way an anti-Howard album in any literal sense. But there is a fire about this, and the war, and talking about our generation, God, violence and the world being a dangerous place. It’s never literal, it’s never specific, but the fire is there. But in the end, these are the things I thought about when I heard this album.

It also helps that the production and the songwriting jumped several levels. Even on a casual listen, it’s louder, thrashier and more in your face. Don’t Lose It, Wrecking BallSynaesthesia, Got Your Hooks In – all possibly the heaviest things they’ve ever recorded.

But in the tradition of the greatest politically minded bands, they also write relationship songs with equal passion. Got You On My Radar (a song the band actually doesn’t like) wraps aerial warfare with love and courting. There is also a sweetness in the Weight Just Right. This was a long way from the pun-filled, smart-arsey stuff of their early EPs.

Their live shows were amazing during this time, and I went to every show I could. But this album only took them a touch higher than their last album. I remember talking to Loren, and wondering why musicians love this band so much, and how non musicians don’t get it? I took this as a challenge and recommended this band to anyone I knew who could play guitar. And they all loved them.

Sadly, the fantastic, tight, lean 3 piece line up of Peabody broke up when drummer Graeme Trewin left. Peabody regrouped with a new drummer and, for the first time, a second guitarist, and made a very different third album.

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