Augustines are out to prove a point. Having started as Augustines, (called after the month, naturally), the three-piece changed their name to We Are Augustines, before reverting back to the original moniker of Augustines late last year. To add to the confusion, the group’s sophomore release is called ‘Augustines’. Phew.
But just who are Augustines? In a week where Alex Turner’s paying for broken microphones and celebrating rock’s phoenix–esque rise from the ashes, Augustines are determined to forge their own path. Throbbing guitars and aggressive drumbeats are signature to this band’s sound. On lead single Nothing To Lose But Your Head, they build and build to a chorus that doesn’t exactly explode into life. A song that starts off with promise is quickly derailed. Flat lyrics and over-instrumentation see the song lose direction and burn out faster than it started.
The nervous, fiery energy showcased here is better channelled in songs such as Don’t You Look Back. Finding their feet, Augustines’ distorted guitars compliment the minimal instrumentation and frontman Billy McCarthy’s gravelly wails. McCarthy’s vocals are undoubtedly the band’s secret weapon. He has the ability to switch from a strong rock sound to a purer, softer vocal, as heard on I Touch Imaginary Hands. While a tender voice is well accompanied by piano and brass on the stadium-ready Walkabout, shows they’re not trying to be ‘just another rock band’.
If McCarthy’s voice is the band’s best asset, their lyrics are the thorn in their side. Tracks like Weary Eyes and Kid You’re On Your Own are repetitive and same-y. Both are solid rock songs, but even McCarthy can’t save the band’s unoriginal, dull lyrics. This Ain’t Me and Now You Are Free are tender appeals to the disillusioned in the crowd. “What am I running from/Myself and everyone …” McCarthy trails off on the latter. However, both will realise their full potential on the live circuit, with choruses written to be chanted.
Augustines were determined to set the record straight on ‘Augustines’. Though it is obvious the band have been influenced by the late greats of the ’60s and ’70s, Augustines have a tenderness that is their own. They’re not all aggro, or all swagger, and while they’re not exactly breaking new ground (or microphones), they have managed to produce a decent record on their second outing and establish themselves as one of the new rock bands to watch out for. That rock and roll, eh?