Tropical Fuck Storm – “Braindrops” (2019)
There has been this rather incredible explosion of rock music coming out of Australia over the past several years. Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Alex Lahey, and Camp Cope have all been picking up the mantle for a flagging genre in desperate need of an infusion of new blood. But despite the excellence of these groups, and indeed each of these bands released an album that made my personal Top 300 of the 2010’s, one could say that they’re not really reinventing the wheel, so to speak. They’re just doing a very good iteration of traditional indie rock tropes. Even King Gizzard is pulling from ‘70s hesher rock, ‘90s desert rock, and the like. So, if you could knock the scene at all, it would probably be due to lack of innovation.
Enter Tropical Fuck Storm.
This is the title track off of their 2019 album,and this is about as far from a “conventional” rock song as you can get while still remaining solidly in that realm. It’s itchy, shambling, and often needlessly confrontational. It has jarring shifts in tone that never allow you to get into a groove. It is almost seven minutes long, which essentially doubles the length most would aim for when releasing a single. It is so unabashedly laced with Australian vernacular to the point that it broaches The Harder They Come levels of outsider impenetrability. But there’s just something about it that I keep coming back to.
My friend Kristi brought up Tropical Fuck Storm a few weeks back, and they’ve been hovering in my brain ever since, especially this song. As good as the rest of the album is, nothing really reaches the height of this track in my opinion. I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone said that this song sounds like the soundtrack to nicotine withdrawal, and I couldn’t have put it better if you gave me a decade to describe it. This song has an uncanny habit of burrowing into the base of your brain like a colony of termites. Frontman Gareth Liddiard also has some incredible turns of phrase in this song. The line “When it’s all said and done/ you’re just a massive cunt/ so stop acting like your problems all jumped out of a cake” is an all-timer for sure. Really this whole song is loaded with smoldering cynicism with its lyrics about lazy cops making sure the only arrests ‘round here are cardiac, miserable trophy wives, and razing hungover miscreants.
The video is dope as hell too. Liddiard’s disheveled mug sneering over demolition derby footage is already a pretty good start. But for it to spawn multiple multicolored versions of the mulleted man is simple, crude, and effective. That’s not even taking into account the fact that there’s a fucking weird Claymation section that plays during the bridge of the song! Why they decided to put a surrealist psych montage featuring an army of Pikachus and Skeletor set to Play-Doh in their video is beyond me, but I’m all for it. It hits that Evil Dead melting deadite feel of crude-but-violent that I really enjoy. Regardless, this song is bloody ripper to use the stereotypical Aussie parlance. Well, worth a listen.
For more short song discussions, check out our past about Wanda Jackson’s Funnel of Love.