Brisbane is the subject of way too many cultural misconceptions. It houses for example, the most exciting contemporary art gallery in Australia but is still perceived as a cultural backwater by most of its Southern brethren. Brisbane is also home to some of the most carefully curated boutiques in Australia but is yet to shake its reputation as this sartorial wasteland where board shorts and tacky Bali shirts go to die. Actually that last part might be partially true. Lastly people seem to think that Brisbane’s favourite pop leaning three-piece are these guys. Not true. That title actually belongs to the scruffy musicians pictured above. The Grates may be way more popular, yes, but Brisbane’s got mad love for the underdogs.
As the first single from their sophomore album The Rip, “Shakeytown” is a perfect distillation of what makes I Heart Hiroshima so special. Their pop-perfect formula, which remains largely unchanged from their debut LP “Tuff Teef”, is deceptively simple and devastatingly effective: Dueling guitars, no bass, intertwined girl/boy vocals and pop hooks that bore into your skull. Stretch over a terse 3 minutes and sprinkle with the type of tension reserved for lockjaw and courtroom dramas.
Much like their music, the accompanying stop-motion video finds I Heart Hiroshima balancing tension with levity as they play cops and robbers against themselves. Of course, the robbers win. As I said Queenslanders love an underdog.
The Rip, out through Valve Records on October 2, 2009.