Album Review: The Belligerents – Science Fiction (2017 LP)

The Belligerents’ debut album Science Fiction has landed. And you will want to get on board. The long-awaited full-length release from this Brisbane band, who have had the industry buzzing for some time, is out now through Sony.

The record is full of all the grand splendour you’d hope for: driving guitars, spaced out keys, layered vocals, plenty of reverb and trippy touches. Behind the style, though, there’s substance with catchy melodies and strong songs.

The journey begins with “Sorry to Say”, a gorgeous opener that carries you along on a mesmerising wave of interweaving instrumentation and dreamy vocals. Single “Caroline” takes you back to the world of retro psychedelia before spinning you off into a completely different direction, a dance party vibe that could keep you going all night. “Before, I Am” (“before I am a man I am a ghost”) is a song that could inspire navel gazing or star gazing. The awesome single “Flash” is a time-travelling trip, taking you from ‘60s sitar-infused groove, via ‘70s disco, through to ‘80s-‘90s Madchester. “Yes Man” turns the ‘70s disco vibe up to the max and is almost cheesy good. Closing track “Sleeping for Days” is a beautiful aural chill out, with touches of harp and strings.

The record has an equally psychedelic origin story, created by the five piece on Stradbroke Island, where they set up their own temporary studio inside a farmhouse. Apparently, hidden within the tracks are incidental sounds, such as cows lowing, cicadas buzzing and somebody washing up. To hear them, though, might take some careful listening or a lot of drugs. They recorded the album independently more than a year ago, but the product was so good they garnered lots of attention from industry, delaying the release of the album. And no wonder. These guys – Lewis Stephenson (vocals/guitar), James Griffin (guitar), Konstantin Kersting (bass), Andy Balzat (keys), Samuel Sargent (drums) – are talented. This is an album full of mastery, creativity and adventure from people not afraid to think outside the box. Production, handled by Lewis and Konstantin, is tight and flawless.

The windy path has led to an awesome destination, one which rewards fans and should earn them plenty of new ones. Now they’ve arrived. The universe awaits.

Review Score: 9 out of 10. 

Science Fiction is out now through Sony Music.