In 2007, some magazine nobody had ever heard of named Brisbane as one of the top music cities in the world. Because the magazine was published overseas, the mainstream media and music industry jizzed all over themselves and took it as an affirmation that the way they were doing things was right.
It's now 2011 and they haven't moved on. Bands form, write average songs and pay local producers way too much money to record them. The only gigs these bands see are the gigs they play at, which are mostly in the State Government sanctioned "Entertainment Precinct" in Fortitude Valley. The band managers write positive reviews of the bands they manage in local street press.
Brisbane melodic hardcore band Fires of Waco are different. The members have played in dozens of bands before this one and saw a scene before MySpace and Afends. For them, punk rock is an attitude and a vehicle to express thoughts, ideas and beliefs - not a marketing front for cheap drinks.
They've just finished a national tour with Defeater and Miles Away, where they launched debut album Old Ghosts Never Sleep to someone else's crowd and came away winning harder than Charlie Sheen.
The album is impressively cohesive for a release that was recorded in half a dozen locations by a band with three singers and a lot of opinions. Instrumental opener No Man's Land seques into Terra Nullius, where singer Allan Reid shouts "Today I was confronted by the fact that I know nothing of the people of this soil/but a white-washed history." over slow, grinding chords.
The rest of Side A is given over to the more single-worthy songs of the album, with sludgy halfway point "Old Ghosts" marking the transition to the more ponderous Side B.
The lyrical subject matter is confronting, with Reid's bright vocal delivery buoying the heavy themes into a melody to sing along to, where you're forced to think about the words coming our of your own mouth. It's genius.
The band and recording engineer Dave Williams deserve every good thing that comes their way as a result of this album.
Pick it up from Poison City Records on CD or LP - you won't be disappointed.