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Soap Star Joe - Tell Her On The Weekend

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 12 / 7 / 2004

Soap Star Joe - Tell Her On The Weekend
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Quirky indie guitar rock on debut album from Australian three piece Soap Star Joe, who have recently sadly decided to break up

It seems a damn shame but just as this debut album by Australian three piece Soap Star Joe gets a release in the UK a message appears on their web site that on 9th July the group decided to call it a day and are no more. Singer / songwriter Mick Wilson has always been the mainstay of the band since they were known as God Is My Co-Pilot back in the late nineties and it seems strange that once the line up was finally settled with Wilson on guitar and vocals, David Keys (who also plays with Jason Walker’s Last Drinks) on bass and keyboards and Saul Foster on drums and the fact that they have, on this album, produced 12 songs of excellent indie rock that they felt the time had come to draw a line under the band. I mean, c’mon, we deserve more than one album from a band that was cool enough to take their name from a track on Liz Phair’s ‘Exile In Guyville’ album! Especially when it’s this good. The band was extremely gifted at writing slightly eccentric lyrics (all of the songs are credited to Soap Star Joe but one gets the feeling the lyrics are probably the work of Wilson) and marrying them with slightly skewed pop tunes. Quirky is a good description for these 12 songs, but there is a fine line between being quirky and being annoying and Soap Star Joe thankfully stay on the right side of the line. Take ‘Sega Master’ for example; a song dealing with a childhood spent playing early computer games, “With all imagination gone, I’ll keep my Sega Master on, I lost my childhood in the games room the other day” it’s a touching but sadly true tale which also name checks Atari, Commodore ’64 and Pac Man. These guys know their stuff! Apart from the expected electronic noises on this track there is also some inspired guitar playing from Wilson. It’s obvious from the first song, ‘Bus Stop’ that the lyrics are going to play a big part in this album, after an intro where angular guitar lines run amok the very first line we hear is “Suckin’ cock for rock at the bus stop” and we don’t hear that too often. Although at times the lyrics are a little oblique (I might be naïve but I still don’t understand what the above line actually means; what kind of rock exactly?), the following song, ‘Rock Song’ is much more straightforward. Another melody that lodges in the brain from the first listen, another superb performance on guitar from Wilson and this time lyrics we can all relate to, “I can’t still forget the time, you were choked on summer wine”. In ‘If I Were A Telescope’ Soap Star Joe present the world with a suicidal ballad with a melody far too joyful and far too good for the subject matter and lyrics which again grab the attention, “If they found me hangin’ from a tree, would they say I was listenin’ to Led Zeppelin 111?” Reasoning that he is so misunderstood that even the reason for his suicide would be misinterpreted it’s to Wilson’s credit that the song actually brings a smile to the face in spite of the seriousness of the subject matter. The playing from the 3 piece is absolutely superb throughout; the album was recorded by Michael Carpenter at Stagefright Studios which should be recommendation enough and was produced by the band along with Jason De Wilde. The band had released a number of singles and EPs before this debut album and it’s a mystery why they should want to bring an end to the band right now when the album is so good. There’s not a duff track throughout the 12 and intelligent pop/rock albums of this quality don’t see the light of day that often especially with humour sprinkled through the songs. But even if this is the swan song of this talented threesome I hope we will hear more of the individuals at some point; talent like this deserves to be heard.

Track Listing:-
1 Bus Stop
2 Rock Song
3 Carlo's Way
4 She Will Shine
5 Stuck In Traffic
6 If I Were A Telescope
7 Raguletto
8 Baked Potatoes
9 BBQ Police
10 Sega Master
11 Kosheree
12 Lagoon

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