FT'D: Dr Sure's Unusual Practice - The West (LP)
Written by Claire Longhouse
It’s 2019 and the world is scared. The world is scared so it’s turning to conservatism: Trump, Brexit, neo-nazis and now ScoMo. If there was ever a need for a punk resurgence, it’s now. And not the Let’s-Get-Fucked-Up kind of punk that sings about tinnies, pills, lines and more lines. Right now we need politically charged ‘Guns of Brixton’ type stuff that gets people angry and inspired. It’s out there, the steam is building, and Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice’s debut album ‘The West’ proves this. It’s all that you could want from a thought-provoking post-punk album that’s simultaneously clever and bloody rips.
The album title itself is a statement about the privileged West (i.e. rich, white countries) who have created this technological “paradise” of environmental degradation, indigenous genocide, cruelty and individualism. Dougal Shaw drills into each of these issues, among a plethora of others, on ‘The West’ as you come to realise he’s got something to say. Dr Sure’s second single “It’s Alive” makes a statement about our reliance on technology in a “Her”-type storyline where our phones become our consciousness. Third track ‘Who Knew’ takes on corruption, bureaucracy and ‘the system’ in Shaw’s manifesto backed by a driving bass line that will lodge itself in your brain and never come out. The guitars are chaotic, but nuanced, and create an atmosphere of disarray as the band cries “Who knew that the banks were crook, who knew they’d get off the hook?” In sixth track “The Inherent Joy”, the album’s sound becomes slower and funkier as Shaw explores the inherent struggle of being ‘other’ before ironically chanting “JOY!”
Dr Sure ends the album with two of its most politically provocative tracks. The release of third single “Catch Up” couldn’t have come at a better time, as the election and thus the impending doom of Australia for the next four years came three days later. “Catch Up” parodies the “cauca-sick gangs in the parliament house” (a nod to the abhorrent “African gang” rhetoric) with witty and apt lyrics about the use of scare tactics and fear-mongering to get ahead in the Australian election campaign. And even if you ignore the lyrics, what remains is a goddamn catchy rock song. Final track ends the album with a war cry: “The death of the West- overdue and underdressed” as the booming drum-line, ominous instrumentation, and slurred singing all hint at an apocalyptic end to the political shit storm.
‘The West’ is energetic, creative and anarchic and ignites listeners with a sense of FUCK YOU to those that need to get fucked. It’s everything that punk’s about- but with more complex chord progressions.