Cable Ties are Australian. Cable Ties is Australian? Man, I’m several decades into this website and still have no idea if bands should be addressed as a group of people or an individual entity. Especially when that band is a plural noun. But enough about Mr. Hipster’s grammar corner and on to talking about this young group of Australian punk types, Cable Ties.
I recently saw these ladies (and one gentleman) open for Superchunk at Bowery Ballroom. And they are most definitely an energetic bunch. If a threesome is a bunch. A threesome? Sorry, a trio. And a funny group to support a band of geriatrics and their equally geriatric audience. Because you could theoretically call them punk if you wanted to, which is definitely not the vibe a bunch of elderly Gen Xers are looking for on a night out. And despite them being on Mac’s label, Merge, they bare very little resemblance to the relatively iconic indie rock band for which they opened. They are way more in the riot grrrl mode with which we’re very familiar. At times, in fact, they sound like a funny mash up of Sleater-Kinney and like… AC/DC. Which probably just owes itself to their aforementioned Australianness. But mostly makes Cable Ties feel like an amalgam of their pretty obvious influences.
If you’ve ever experienced that riot grrrl thing, you’ll know that it can sound at times like a bag of cats being tossed around a hard-surfaced room. In fact, there is one particular note that lead singer, Jenny McKechnie, hits at the beginning of “Perfect Client” that had me thinking the 1 Train was squealing toward a serious head-on with something ugly. They will do these more intense, fast songs and then, like the genre begs, do a more bass-heavy, almost dirgey, but steadily propulsive tune. Building that voice from a slower, deeper echo to a high-pitched scream (with that vibrato thing that sounds almost yodel-ish).
But then they downshift into some more lovely mid-tempo indie singer songwriter stuff on tunes like “Mum’s Caravan.” Followed by a tune like “Thoughts Back,” which immediately brought to mind earlier B-52’s with its short, repetitive choruses sung in female harmonies and some nice guitar work. All without Fred Schneider! I’m honestly not sure I realized how much this band sounded like these others at the actual show; I think I was just caught up in their energy and fun stage antics. I do think the album reflects this to some extent, but I do recall more guitar soloing and some welcome sloppiness. All in all, this is a highly entertaining record, though their live show tops the recorded material both in energy and power.