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Words by Emily Hollitt

No artist truly captures the uniquely Australian noughties nostalgia in the way The Veronicas do. With the honour of writing the country’s unofficial national anthem, Untouched, the Brisbane-born twins, Jess and Lisa Origliasso, have cemented themselves at the centre of Australian pop culture in a way no artist has replicated since. From their 2005 debut album, which featured tracks such as 4Ever and Everything I’m Not, the group garnered a loyal fanbase. They followed this up in 2007 with ‘Hook Me Up’, which was the albums’ titular track, and Australia’s sonic and aesthetic equivalent to Russia’s t.A.T.u. With tracks like Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were), the duo proved that not only were they incredible pop stars, but powerful vocalists. Disappearing off the radar for a while, the pair returned in 2014 with their self-titled album before releasing 2 albums in 2021 ‘GODZILLA’ and ‘HUMAN’.

This year, the duo has fully embraced the nostalgic aspects of their career, with ‘Gothic Summer’. The album perfectly encapsulates everything that title says- the pop-punk, gothic elements mixed with cheesy summer pop to create an album that is uniquely theirs. The pair reunited with ‘Hook Me Up’ producer John Feldman—best known for his work with the likes of Blink 182, Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani, whose influence is rife within the record—for their latest offering. They also collaborated with Ryan Linville (Olivia Rodrigo, Chappel Roan), Zhone (Troye Sivan, Kim Petras) and Chris Collins (Royal Otis, Matt Corby), as well as enlisting Blink 182’s Travis Barker on drums. The star-studded lineup allows for this album to be one of the most anticipated of the year. And boy does it deliver!

Perfect opens the album; a self-love anthem about embracing your flaws and rejecting commercialised perfectionism. The track sounds like something Avril Lavigne or Good Charlotte would have released back in their heyday. Opening with chugging guitars before a simple, yet driving, drumbeat enters the track. “Fuck designer, start a riot. Perfect’s going out of style.” they repeat each chorus. Beatles-esque organ and Baroque style piano plays during the songs bridge as they sing,  I don’t need no glitter dreams, I’m okay with crooked teeth. All I need is just to feel like me”.

Detox follows, with the same energy as Take Me Away from 2003’s ‘Freaky Friday’ movie, or anything Operator Please would’ve released in the same era. With punchy vocals, hooky guitars and a hyper-pop breakdown in the bridge, the track is another nostalgic banger and the absolute definition of a ‘Gothic Summer’. The tempo drops and the beat transcends into more of a reggae sound as they repeat “I’m sinking into the toxic feeling. I’m falling in through the stained-glass ceiling” for the track’s outro. 

An infectious bassline opens Here To Dance. “We’re not gonna listen to that blah blah blah” they sing over an early Ke$ha-style synth. disco-inspired pad strings play throughout the chorus, like something made by the Bee Gees themselves. The bassline stays consistent throughout, keeping the energy up before dropping back for the following track, Savage. 

“How could you be just another savage. Leave me lonely, nothing left to salvage. Nobody knows me better…I could’ve loved you better. I should’ve loved you better.”

The track retains a consistent beat, making the song equally heartfelt and danceable. Featuring an infectious synth-solo closing out each chorus, the track is as hook-y as it is meaningful. Kerser features towards the end of the song, paying homage to one of Australia’s hip-hop greats. ‘We’re big fans of Kerser; he speaks to a different part of Australian culture than we do”, spoke Jess on the collaboration.

Invisible continues the same notion of noughties pop-punk nostalgia. The chorus is layered and cheerful, while still retaining that feeling of teen-angst; like it’s smack-bang in the middle of an American teen coming-of-age movie. They’re vocals are showcased in the songs bridge, with backing call-and-response vocals reminiscent of an early All-American Rejects song. “You make me feel invisible”. The mood changes entirely with Ribcage; a sombre tone, reminiscent of ballads off the groups’ debut record ‘The Secret Life of… The Veronicas’.  The lyrics build; “You took my chest, and you ripped it open. All of my fears build up like an ocean. I didn’t know that I had a heart that could love you so bad”. Their vocal delivery is pleading and desperate, singing over strings and a slow drumbeat, aiding to the emotional impact of the song. The track closes with isolated vocals and piano, allowing the message to really sink in.

Anthemic surf-rock track Jungle follows. And this track is reminiscent for a whole new reason. Absolutely nailing the tone of psychedelic music from the 60’s and 70’s, the track sounds like it could’ve been written by the likes of The Beach Boys or The B-52’s. An acoustic version of Perfect closes the album. With stacked harmonies and emotive vocal delivery, the stripped-back rendition packs the same punch as the recorded version, while letting the twins’ vocal ability shine through, a brilliant ending to the album.

Evoking an overall sense of sentimentality, ‘Gothic Summer’ celebrates the best parts of what flung The Veronicas into the limelight all the way back in 2005 and elevates it. Matching their powerhouse vocals with reminiscent pop production, the record is a joy to listen to from beginning to end.

‘Gothic Summer’ is out now via Big Noise Music Group
Stream / Buy HERE


Thanks to Bossy Music

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