Right out of the gates, Greater City, Greater Love buries both a sharp critique and loving homage to Australian culture in the red dirt of a synth-laden outback pastiche, born of the band’s rural upbringing in country Victoria.

The record is gripping, in both its music and lyrics, and tracks like album opener ‘Sirens (Parts 1 & 2)’ have the ability to lull you down into the beautiful depths of deep, moody, distorted vox, before prodding you in the ribs with a sharp, uniquely-Australian phrase (“Don’t fall asleep/with your dick in your hand/You’ll never eat soggy Weet-Bix/For dinner again”.

Abrupt sonic about-faces – like the transition from the uplifting crescendo of ‘Sirens’ into the sharp, electronic snap of drums that heralds moody standout single ‘Still Life’ – also serve to keep you guessing, as the record walks a line between the desert-dry tones of The National and the more playful theatre of The Killers’ Sam’s Town.

The album carves its home out at the meeting point between cynicism and nostalgia, exemplified on the soaring synth of lead single ‘The Cricketers’ as it balances against the weary refrain of “I don’t think I care enough about you”, or the skewed optimism of ‘Grand Old Flags’.

Through the lens of small-town Australia, Greater City, Greater Love captures the universal struggle to break away from a place that leaves you haunted by fond memories and bitter feelings in equal measure, and to reconcile its worst traits with its best.

As we see the world around us seeming to move forwards and backwards at once, Fountaineer’s debut perfectly translates a feeling many of us can relate to.

4/5

Fountaineer’s debut album Greater City, Greater Love is out now through 1825 Records

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