Sydney-based and Indie-influenced The Preatures have lived out the majority of their career in relative obscurity. Following the release of two quietly masterful extended plays, the band managed to catch moderate commercial success with the release of their 2014 album Blue Planet Eyes. The album’s single “Is This How You Feel?” was ultimately voted ninth on the Triple J Hottest 100, an Australian quasi-equivalent of the Billboard Top 100. As a whole, the album peaked at number four on the charts of the Australian Recording Industry Association and achieved relatively widespread critical success in the Australian markets.
Blue Planet Eyes is the band’s interpretation of the indie-synthpop sound that became popular when listening to grunge became popular again. Lead singer Isabella Manfredi’s voice is a quiet and ethereal whisper in response to the band’s heavy bass riffs and beautiful guitar solos. There’s something palpable and inherently adolescent about the sound of the album; it’s youthful and inspired, and it somehow manages to play directly on the idea of going on a road trip during the summer. The band is something akin to The Temper Trap, but with a distinguished hip-ness that can only be attained by a band that didn’t immediately fall onto a record contract.
The aforementioned single “Is This How You Feel?” was arguably the band’s greatest success. The Preatures won a $50,000 prize in the Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition for the lyrics of the song, and also managed to gain some international attention after the song was featured in an episode of WBEZ’s This American Life on National Public Radio. The song catches listeners with the a borderline sensual baseline, and follows up with a powerful percussion accompaniment. Manfredi’s voice contributes lyrics about searching for solidarity in the midst of young romance, and she quietly refrains to herself in a way that makes the song as moving as it is relatable. It’s not necessarily a new theme, but the song is an inspired take on it, and deserves commendation for that. The lyrics are smart, and the song is catchy and new.
Another song worth mentioning is “Somebody’s Talking.” This song is admittedly a little less thought out than “Is This How You Feel,” as the band directly plays on coastal imagery to appeal to their listening demographic. In that sense, the song feels slightly like a cop-out; using the phrase “coast to coast” feels remarkably cheesy in comparison to the smart lyrics of “Is This How You Feel.” That being said, the musical aspect of the song is incredibly redeeming. It’s easy-listening, but still manages to be compelling in its originality. This particular song carries more of a melody than many of the other tracks, and it is a spirited and fun song to listen to.
Blue Planet Eyes is, first and foremost, great for summer listening. By playing on their Australian appeal, The Preatures have put together an album that’s novel and exciting to listen to. It’s hip, it’s new, and it’s an exceptionally well done sound.