BY SEAN O’GRADY
Animal Kingdom is the brilliant debut album from Sydney band Pirra, the band will be heading down to Melbourne to launch the album at the Brunswick Hotel on the 3rd of June. The band have taken a complete DIY approach, self financing and apart from two songs producing the album themselves at their own small studio in Bowraville. What is remarkable about Animal Kingdom is it’s cohesive nature and maturity, each track resonates with bold musical brush strokes and poignant reflective writing. It’s a rare occurrence for bands these days to self produce and in the light of such a great album I asked lead singer Jess Beck what drove that decision.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to record an album and we didn’t necessarily think we would be doing so much of it on our own but without the funds we had to do it ourselves. We tracked the album up at Bowraville on the boys farm, and then we set up a studio in our South Coogee apartment where we did the vocals and overdubs.”
Without having the counsel of an established producer I asked Jess how the band dealt with quality control and making decisions about the final mix of the songs.
“It was a challenge we relied on close friends and a few contacts in the industry to give us some feedback. The recording itself was quite easy because we knew the sound we wanted and we were prepared. The most challenging part was mixing the album, trying to work out if a track needed extra harmonies or additional instrumentation. We all had our views and opinions, Curtis Argent our bass player and guitarist James McKendry put the most time into the mixing. I really trusted them and felt confident with what they were doing, they had worked hard at building their skills up.”
Animal Kingdom embraces a vast array of musical influences, each song has a distinctive musical flavour. Wake Me opens with a swirling melody before diving down into a penetrating funky bass line. The opening track All For Ya delves back into the 80’s with floating synth lines, Something Has Changed has a deep soul feel and the spacy Kool Ade opens up into a wide vista with a lean bass line and dreamy guitar melodies. Lyrically the album touches on the rocky path of life, the difficult decisions and the complicated relationships that we all encounter, I asked Jess what inspired the writing for the album.
“It’s based on observation, when you go on tour you meet a lot of interesting people, the inspiration came from viewing human behaviour. You meet people with different personalities some that are confident, some that don’t care what other people think it’s not about judging it’s just a commentary on what I experience, it’s a good source for material.”
Animal Kingdom is out now and Pirra will be playing the Brunswick Hotel on the 3rd of June, details about the album and gig below.