After spending the last 10+ years releasing tunes in The Decline, Australia’s answer to the 90’s Californian skate-punk movement, Pat Decline has announced something he’s been threatening to do for a while now – a debut solo acoustic record entitled Nine Lives. Nine Lives contains nine stripped back, acoustic folk punk songs reminiscent of artists such has Jeff Rosenstock, Frank Turner, Dan P, Joe McMahon and Brendan Kelly, whilst not deviating too far from the songwriting style which The Decline have become known for. Nine Lives features additional musicianship from members of Nerdlinger, Vetty Vials, Ess-Em & even Dave Berry or as they are all jokingly being referred to for this album “Pat Decline & The Cat Haven Volunteers” facebook.com/PatDeclineSolo
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PAT DECLINE – Nine Lives
“A lot of these songs are about the experience of travelling around playing music – the friends you make, the people you connect with, and maybe a little bit of the existential dread we all experience in these uncertain times.” Explains Pat Decline, frontman with Australian skate-punk exports The Decline, who he has been releasing tunes with for the last 10+ years. Now, after threatening to do so for a while, he’s just dropped his debut solo record ‘Nine Lives’ via independent Oz zine/label PEE Records. “There’s not much about cats on there, so I decided to go heavy with the cats theme for the artwork. There’s also a song called ‘Atomic Tomato’ on there ‘cause I’m hoping to get sponsored by Samboy Chips,” he adds.
Alongside potential promotional pacts, Decline depicts intimate vignettes threaded together with homespun charm and canny melodies. ‘Stagger’ kicks things off with a jaunty jangle and joyful keys: “You’ll always be my home,” affirms Decline, to whomever? Wherever? Possibly Perth itself, which gets its own ode in the next track, ‘Mining Skyline’. “There’s a government building on St George’s terrace in Perth that they light up with multicoloured lights in the evening and the park below it where I’ve seen a lot of homeless people gathering in the past,” he explains. “So much of our country’s wealth is based around mining in WA and over my lifetime I’ve watched these companies’ buildings conquer our city skyline. I guess the title is super literal and maybe I’m kind of basic. Also, there’s not enough time in life to enjoy the things that matter, like natural bodies of water.”
‘Morning Myrtle’ tells the tale of a returning friend? Lover? It’s a compelling, if cautionary anecdote about how life works out, or doesn’t, in the ways you might (not) expect. It also features some triumphant trombone from Dave Berry, one of the guesting ‘Cat Haven Volunteers’ (including Nerdlinger among others), as Decline has named them. The aforementioned ‘Atomic Tomato’ is a treaty in the trivialities and tiresome nature of touring life decorated with some neat synth touches and not understated, but just enough stated, bass. ’27 Club’ would appear to be about keeping it together, not necessarily following your heroes. Even though we all may be fucked-up ordinary people, or ordinary fucked-up people? And previous single ‘Full Of Hate’ features more sage advice: “If you go looking for trouble you might find it..” Beginning all low-key and muted, ‘Breathe Again’ breaks warmly with lush female harmonies, supplied by Vetty Vials, and warming bass that transform it into a gorgeous, hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck, moment. The staccato punchiness of ‘Scared To Move’ closes out the album. Underpinned by Ess-Em’s adroit keys, it’s a revealing rumination on being unleashed and finding your purpose in the world. An almost apology to the life he’s put his band-mates through, it sees Decline shouldering the responsibility of starting out solo.
Which he’s done so ably; all Nine Lives still intact.
5/5 By Adam Pytro
06 Nov 2020
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CAT #: PCD081
All Music, Lyrics & Melody by: Pat Decline
Produced by: Daniel Antix & Pat Decline
Recorded, Edited, Mixed & Mastered by: Daniel Antix at Defwolf Studios, Kurnell NSW 2019
Cover Photo by: Neve Nathaniel
Art, Layout & Design by: Pete Pee