Album Review: Skyway - 'Nauseating Suburbia'

1 January 2011 | 4:47 pm | Staff Writer

Worth a world more than just a free download.

‘Pop/punk’ in the 21st century emerged as a phenomenon dividing humans throughout the planet. There are first – those who can write it, and second – those who can’t. There are third- those who love it, and fourth – those who hate it. And whilst Queensland may be home to some of Australia’s most heavy and hard, tucked away beneath the coast’s sandy shores is a group bearing the torch of pop/punk ahead of the nation. Skyway’s most recent EP, Nauseating Suburbia attests their ability to write pop/punk music. Good pop/punk music.

Like any good introductory track, ‘Wonderfool World’ cheekily sets us in Skyway’s ill-natured universe, self-described as their Nauseating Suburbia. Soon enough however, we come to realise that this 5-track gem is anything but stomach churning. Essentially, what we are dealing with is a handful of songs displaying a great sense of maturity since their previous two releases: straight-forward, incredibly well-thought out and perfectly structured. ‘…And Your Toe-tag Will Read “Sellout”’ delivers the most punch a pop/punk song can possibly pack, incorporating the full synchronised force of the band and a true kick to balls with the featured gang vocals. With no hesitation, Skyway spread their game plan across the table – fast-paced, high energy and downright catchy. And whilst aspects as such strongly reminisce influence from forefathers Set Your Goals and New Found Glory, immediately defined is the true magic of the band - their most powerful spell being the chorus.

Vocal harmonies. Group sing-alongs. Pretty guitar melodies. Somewhat hypnotic in their approach, tracks such as ‘Bright Eyes Never Die!’ display the infectious nature of Skyway’s song-writing ability, controlling listeners through forcing the uncontrollable hum-along or tap of the foot upon them. ‘’Re-union Road’ best demonstrates the great balance this band has struck between melodic guitar-work and the vocal lines of Dan McMaster, one of the key aspects pioneering the success of this record. There are moments however that smirk a tinge of ‘cheesy’, where the chanting line of “Wo-ah” tips that board an inch too far – this lyric repeatedly occurring throughout the release. What wins us back is Skyway’s steadfast nature, playing this role confidently and all-out in a way that sets it cool. It seems that pop/punk renditions of radio classics is a standard throughout this realm of music, and more often than not the classic is sadly defaced. Appropriately titled, ‘Back In The 80s, This Song Ruled’ their more up-beat re-working of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fastcar’, just simply, works. There is an undoubtable respect for the original felt within this cover; maturely appropriated and superbly transformed.

Sometimes a small dose can provide long-lasting satisfaction. Whilst in reality only a three-track, Skyway’s five-song 'Nauseating Suburbia' gives no reason why this band can’t one day join the forefront of the pop/punk world. And though little musically groundbreaking is offered, what overcomes this is the group’s undeniable knowledge of the style and their ability to champion it outstandingly. A free download, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not getting your ears all up in this record. It’s certain that the 22nd century holds big things for Skyway and their forthcoming album.

1.  Wonderfool World

2.  And Your Toe-tag Will Read "Sellout"

3.  Bright Eyes Never Die!

4.  Re-union Road

5.  Back In The 80s, This Song Ruled (Fastcar cover)