There’s nothing more Aussie than writing a heartfelt ode to our nation’s spread, Vegemite. Those marching band kids seemed quite passionate about the yeast extract back in the 1950s, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released a wonky tribute to the spread last year, and Amanda Palmer has already recorded two songs about Vegemite to date, and lord knows she’s been trying harder than anyone to become an Australian. As true blue as wearing budgie smugglers and drinking VB, Sydney’s own BJ Smith and Davo Voglis (pictured above wearing budgie smugglers and drinking VB) are the latest to pitch in to this sporadically patriotic trend, under the name Gay Rodeo.
The opening track on Gay Rodeo’s debut EP, Vegemite is a lo-fi journey through one man’s unquestioning love for the salty spread. Front-and-centre in this track, BJ’s slack vocals are definitely a cut from the same cloth as Peter Bibby, but with a charming mix of jangly guitar chords, resonant glockenspiel hits and thin drumming, Gay Rodeo manage to define themselves independent of the Melbourne artist’s music. Mrs Williams is one minute of concentrated teenage resentment, with the band’s former teacher Mrs Williams (who, in fairness, does sound like a bit of a dickhead) being berated to the sounds of abrasive punk guitar and curt vocal delivery.
Taking a distinctly slacker rock turn, I Ain’t No Green Machine’s tongue-in-cheek criticism of weed culture has an Ocker Aussie flavour to it’s lyrics, with clever lines like ‘I’d rather drink some wine, I’d rather *sniff* do an ounce of speed’. Final track Pocket Full of Cotton follows in the longstanding tradition of Country music dedicated to the working man. With pleasingly melodious harmonica solos, a galloping drumline courtesy of Davo Voglis and BJ’s laidback voice, this closing track flaunts Gay Rodeo’s strongest songwriting so far, and a keen eye for no-bullshit storytelling that has a Courtney Barnett-esque simplicity.
While Gay Rodeo might have a little way to go yet in terms of songwriting and instrumental finesse, their debut EP is a charming slice of dolewave with overtones of country and lo-fi rock, making this two piece’s music sound about as Aussie as vegemite on toast.