Album of the Week: Northeast Party House’s Shelf Life is a turning point for the Melbourne band

Northeast Party House have awoken. While their first two albums (Any Given Weekend and DARE) were both great releases in their own right, it felt like both were building to something bigger. And now, four years on from DARE, the band has fully metamorphosed into what they’ve always shown signs of becoming. Shelf Life is what Northeast Party House has always promised and they’ve definitely followed through on that promise.

First and foremost, this is an album of club tracks. Sure, they’ve always been a party or festival band, but there is a difference between what translates well in a tent as opposed to what thrives in a filthy night club at 3AM. Northeast Party House have always had that traditional rock band sound that was tinged with synth greatness. Here on Shelf Life they’ve flipped it and gone full-blown synth with a touch of rock band. And it’s bloody great to see and hear. Yes, there are still tracks that sound like your traditional Northeast songs (lead singles “Magnify” and “Dominos”), but for the most part, what’s on Shelf Life is new, vulnerable, and a massive step forward for a band that has always promised to be on the precipice of something entirely bigger.

Working with an external producer for the first time, in the form of Kim Moyes of The Presets, the band have delivered ten tracks that encapsulate every emotion you’re bound to feel on a massive night out. From excitement that builds during the pre-game, to the point in time that the DJ finally delivers back-to-back killer sets, to when you look at your mates who are all well past it and decide to call it a night, Shelf Life is late-night-dancefloor goodness from the first to last second.

The three-peat punch of “Shelf Life”, “The Desert” and ‘”Lose Control” is Shelf Life at its peak. Firstly there’s the scattered and warped sounds of “Shelf Life” as frontman Zach Hamilton-Reeves talks us through the band’s 17hr sesh as Berlin’s Berghain Nightclub. Written as commentary on the current inaction from those in power as they keep their heads in the sand over global warming, “The Desert” evokes a near apocalyptic sound as the chorus soars. The false drop in “Lose Control”, with its underlying bass line, is going to be an absolute moment in a live setting, while its actual drop is reminiscent of the drop in 2014’s “The Haunted”.

Showing their tender and reflective side, “Tear in a Club” is the band at their most spacious and vulnerable. It’s an unexpected step forward for the band, as their newfound maturity starts to shine through. Now, this may come across as a total sledge (it’s not), but hear me out: “American Diamond” is the band’s Coldplay moment. A lot of people really don’t rate the English band, but once upon a time, they were making genuinely good music. The closing guitar riffs and chorus over the last minute of “American Diamond” is the same sound Coldplay were making when they were at their peak. It’s stadium ready and Northeast Party House should be stoked with the track.

The downbeat “St Valentine” and “Take Tomorrow Faster” help tidy up the back end of the album, before the five-minute masterpiece that is “Sunset” shuts it all down. It’s got a real The Presets vibe to it, as the band well and truly manage to tie the album together.

Ten years into their life as a band, Shelf Life will be a turning point for Northeast Party House. This will be on a heap of end of year lists. There’s no doubt there.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Shelf Life is out now. Get all the links on their official website.

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