Press Club – Late Teens

Led by Natalie Foster with Greg Rietwyk (guitar), Iain MacRae (bass) and Frank Lees (drums), Press Club is a band based in Melbourne that makes a raucous brand of fast-paced indie rock. Their debut album, Late Teens, was released in Australia last year, though the outfit were picked up by Hassle Records and have now released the record on these shores.

Late Teens is an album centred on “displacement, relationships, internal turmoil, gentrification and inequality,” with Press Club pitching themselves as the sonic manifestation of the confusion and fury felt by “a generation experiencing impermanence in every way.” This uncertainty and anger is brought to life through a frantic tempo and Foster’s distinctively impassioned vocals, marked as they are by a kind of livid hope.

Distant drums herald opener ‘Crash’ and set the tone for the album, the sound building in waves as Foster’s vocals veer from yells to murmurs. As we wrote in a preview post, ‘Headwreck’ sees the turbulent style continue, “channelling a relentless intensity into something both tight and raw, [Foster] growling and shouting with throaty emotion to seal the sense of urgency and authenticity.” Comparisons to Japandroids are well earned, though something in the vocals separates the bands—Press Club providing an extra ferocity and bite.

‘Suburbia’ explores love and loss through fondness for old places, and the struggle to maintain an identity in a constantly evolving world, and ‘My Body’s Changing’ applies the same idea to the personal. The track is both an ode to resisting change and embracing it, having the courage and self-assurance to be yourself.

I’ll cut the strings from your hand
I’ll start to walk again (give up or give in)
I’ll shut you out if I can
Don’t owe you anything

The thundering ‘Ignorance’ suggests that this might not always be beneficial or lasting, owning its mistakes amidst a disorientating squall, while ‘Let it Fall’ injects a reckless punk sneer, the sound of growing tired with the situation. The track illuminates the fight that’s central to the record—Foster vs. the other, be that a partner or place or our perplexing society itself. As ‘Trading Punches’ shows, the scrap is brutal, and the key to surviving it appears to be holding onto a sense of history and belonging. You need to remember who you are, where you have come from and who you owe, because without the roots that such a solid sense of identity brings, you will be on the canvas and out for the count.

Late Teens is out now via Hassle Records and you can get it from Bandcamp.