Semantics Show Masterful Skill In Composition and Writing on Debut Album Paint Me Blue
4.6 out of 5 stars
Semantics are an Australian punk/indie quartet based out of Brisbane, Queensland that have sounds that range from English punk and grunge to Australian surf rock riffs layered over post-punk beats and lyrics.
It’s a pretty intriguing sound to explain, but the band can do that for themselves on their debut rock album Paint Me Blue - a 10 song rollercoaster release that came out in May of 2022.
The songs have some variance in tone, tempo and style, but the vocal melodies of singer Callum Robinson definitely make sure to keep the overall sound on par with the band’s direction.
The album starts off like a cannon shot with the song “Carousel” which is an uptempo lightning rod speeding through in just 2 minutes.
Normally, I have to distill the subject matter from the lyrics (upon listening intently as well), but Robinson actually broke down their whole album by song during an interview with Musicfeeds in Australia.
The next song on the album is “Get In The Car” which is the “sequel” if you will to “Carousel” and a strong message to just do something to better your situation (in this instance, a long-distance relationship needs the two to come together).
It’s still a pretty upbeat song to give that bit of fire to actually inspire action. The first two songs are really good, and might be my favorite two songs on the album. It’s tough to pick favorites though.
“This Love Could Kill You” is the first song on the album that kinda brings everything down, and I do mean everything.
While the music is still a bit of a firestorm, the verse is more straightforward, and the song recounts domestic violence in an abusive relationship. Definitely a serious topic worthy of taking your time to appreciate and make note of with lines like, “She said she fell down the stairs.”
“Lighter Glow” is definitely a more melancholy song, and contains the line “paint me blue” (the album title). It’s slow, methodical, and meant to inspire sadness.
It’s always good to see a band try to portray emotions through music rather than just play the same type of music and just change the lyrics.
“Didn’t Want to Hurt You” is probably more of a pop-rock song that a wider audience could focus their attention on as it has a more standard progression with gang vocals on the chorus and everything so you can at least sing along to it. Fast paced and angsty, this is a song that speaks for a generation.
“Embrace Monotony” is a lockdown song that definitely has an indie-rock style to move you in a direction of hyper anxiety mixed with untapped energy. The music does a great job of finding the right sound to go with the subject matter.
The acoustic interjection of “Sad Songs” is definitely one of the key moments in the album where the music takes a backseat to make a song standout. Even the recording production is purposefully scaled back to make it a more intimate recording.
The album picks up again with “Last Time” which may be the most straightforward rock song on the whole album. It’s probably the most radio friendly as well as it even has some guitar lead within the bridge/chorus. It’s definitely poignant for people in relationships that need to end but linger on the hope of it getting better.
“Leafwing” is not only the most complex story on the album, but it is musically the most intricate as well. A metamorphosis analogy that blossoms both in the music and the words to combine for some of the most impressive range on the album. It sort of feels like 2 songs smashed together with the changes in style along the way. It’s a pretty cool concept song.
The final song on the album, “Still Alive” reminds me of the concept of “Staying Alive” by Cursive in the sense that even if all is terrible in life, you are still going to be alive and fight through it with the hope that things will eventually turn around. Musically, the songs couldn’t be any more different, but the idea is similar in concept.
This is a great debut album by a young band that seems to “get it” when it comes to music composition mixed with lyrical design. If all bands could understand this from such an early point in the process, there would be even more awesome music in the world.