Everyone and everything not in the crosshairs of Native Cats singer Chloe Alison Escott should be relieved. Her superpowers of perception lead to lyrics that first encapsulate and second eviscerate, while maintaining their shake-your-head-in-admiration hilarity. It’s no wonder bassist Julian Teakle is so po-faced at gigs. He’s probably trying not to lose it.
The Tasmanian duo make precise and zeitgeist-unaware post-punk they call “electronic pub rock”. This is their fourth and fiercest record – forged amid the tumult of Escott’s transition to life as a woman. Sans guitar, Teakle’s steadfast basslines rope together bright bursts of psych and kosmische, and splashes of melodica that mock, instead of summon, reggae’s chill vibe.
Escott’s personal upheaval sees some lyrics shorn of their former abstraction. “Who would you love if was up to you / If the hand on your heart was yours alone?” she asks on Cowboy Builder. Phrased this way, it insists on truth – and you have to work to answer it. From my perspective as a cis woman, it’s another example of why trans and non-binary voices matter. They’ve had to be strong enough to shoulder open a heavy door – yet the light beyond falls on us all.