For Fans Of
A solo project can be quite a daunting experience, on one hand there is the freedom to create without any boundaries or compromise, on the other, there is the knowledge that mistakes and failures can only be blamed on oneself. For the listener, it is the ultimate exploration of an artist’s influences and style and usually a large deviation from their known work. Valiant Jones is brain child of Adelaide based musician Phil Meakin, also known as the stick man in Adelaide rock band Day On Fire, and ‘Cowards‘ is Meakin’s four track debut, admirably offered to the masses for free.
Meakin is not afraid to let people know who is musical influences are with these songs, however the way that the structures and ideas are brought together is something extremely original, almost like a nod to those who came before quickly followed by a “here’s how to do it better.” The opening track, Here’s To You And To Ruin A Good Thing,” doubles and one of the strongest, Meakin screams the song title repeatedly, a line that many can relate to some experience in life, backed by a swaying guitar that will make you want to raise your glass and cheers along. Don’t get comfortable however because the pace is quickly changed to a syncopated stab of guitars and screams. This random switch is something that happens a lot in these songs, the music is like a child whose attention cannot be held for more than a few seconds before being engulfed in something completely different, a good thing in this case because boredom is not an issue.
Second song Bricks, begins with a Keith Buckley style vocal influence which is followed by the best slow grooves on the record. The atmospheric breakdown is given strength by a dirty bass line and some slide guitars. The title track Cowards is the record’s anthem, and another highlight, which has touches of early Silverchair, once again moulded to suit, with room sounding breaks and a standout chorus, due to both the vocals and the strong guitar line. The strength in Meakin’s voice as he growls the word “coward” near the end of the song will have you slamming along to the heavy beat.
The EP ends with Baby Blue Lung, in which the vocals are at their cleanest, in the verses, before exploding for the chorus backed by squealing guitars. This is all short lived as the song carries the ethos of the record, never become complacent, and moves to a guitar driven build up that features a riff that will probably stay stuck in your head more than any of the vocal lines.
Meakin is doing you a favour, he is giving you the opportunity to get in early and become a fan thus saving you the embarrassment of having to jump on the bandwagon the will eventually follow, it always does when the music is this good this early.
1. Here’s To You And To Ruin A Good Thing
4. Baby Blue Lung