It’s been a while between drinks for Melbourne’s iconic rock band Something for Kate; to be exact, six whole years since any new material. The wait was worth it, though, because their sixth studio album, Leave Your Soul to Science, is a winner.
I’ve tried to listen to Something for Kate in the past, and to be honest, I just wasn’t able to get into them. I’ve spun some of their previous albums and as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t appreciate the tunes. It still doesn’t make sense to me because I loved a lot of frontman Paul Dempsey's solo stuff.
However, past judgements aside, this August I heard the premiere of their new single. As you can imagine, I wasn’t expecting much at all. Yet when “Survival Expert” began to play, I was rapt. The amount of emotion packed into this three minute song enthralled me, and when the song finished, all I wanted was to hear it again.
It was playing constantly in my head on repeat, and I wasn’t even getting annoyed. “Survival Expert” is a ripper of a song. The lyrics are intriguing and the build-up is amazing – it’s definitely one of my favourite songs of the year. And if you like “Survival Expert”, you will certainly not be disappointed with the rest of the record.
The band weren’t interested in making a record that sounded like any of their other records, which might have especially appealed to me considering my previous experiences. However, I think that SFK fans will love what Leave Your Soul to Science has to offer.
Dempsey’s voice is as great as ever, and the songs all have a strong beat and tell compelling stories. There is a great balance between the classic rock of early Something for Kate and some softer, more thoughtful stuff like “Deep Sea Divers”. “Deep Sea Divers” almost brought me to tears the first time I listened to it.
The sparseness of Dempsey’s voice paired with the strummed acoustic guitar in the verse is so tender, and the harmonies in the chorus (provided by bassist Stephanie Ashworth) add another dimension to the track. Another slower, softer track is “The Fireball at the End of Everything”, crooned by Dempsey and featuring beautiful, simple accompaniment (when do hand claps ever go astray?).
The last minute of the song incorporates a lift and some distorted electric guitar to shake things up a bit. This breakdown at the end of “The Fireball at the End of Everything” is really great and is a testament to how generally proficient SFK are on their instruments and in writing songs.
There are a bunch of swell, heartfelt rock songs (“This Economy”, “Back to Normal”, “Eureka”), some heavier, more intense tracks (“Star-Crossed Citizens”, “The Kids Will Get the Money”) and some all-round stellar songs that just can’t be categorised (“Private Rain”, “Sooner Or Later You’re Gonna Have to Do Something About Me”, “Miracle Cure”). Each song is special in its own way.
I really appreciate the Something for Kate’s ability to write songs packed with feeling, and somehow reproduce that intense feeling into recordings. I suspect that the songs contained in this album are songs that easily have the power to become really meaningful to listeners.
Their lyrics also tend to be poignant and well contemplated. Also, extra points for a smashing album name and the cutest band name tale ever. All in all, Leave Your Soul To Science is a really incredible album and an inspiring Australian rock release.
Who knows, maybe after enjoying this album so much, I’ll be able to go back and appreciate Something for Kate’s back catalogue too!
Score: 9 out of 10