Upsize – Beautiful Chaos (2020)

When you watch the Harry Potter movies, you pretty know what will happen. There is magic, wizards, witches and a storyline that we can relate to – it contains elements from our lives and we therefore have a bond with the events. Like the stories, elements are added with great care, at the precise moment, which results in an enthralling tale. However, each tale is honest in its telling and whilst it stays within its theme, there’s enough difference to hold your attention and to fire your imagination.

More on that later.

UPSIZE hail from Brisbane and in their words “entered the rock lounge room on 2003 and began to make serious renovations to the local live music scene”.

I caught them a few weeks ago and was immediately hooked by their stage presence and tighter than Glad Wrap across leftovers in the fridge sound. Again, to use their words, this was “dirty Oz rock” at its finest.

I was fortunate to get my hands on their current album “Beautiful Chaos”. There are 6 tracks on this release and they tip the scales at a shade over 24 minutes.

“Don’t Deny It” had an undeniably simple riff to kick it off. I flashed back in time, to when music was authentic and the sound was driven by the magic of the band, not the amount of technical wizardry in their gear. It was pub rock at its finest. I wanted beer and to sign a COVID plan. Clear and emotional vocals were partnered by strong guitar riffs. It made me itchy to play them, the sign of great music. This was an honest sound and it soon that had my foot tapping.

 “Nothing to Give” gave me a moment to step back a bit. Strong vocal inflections began the track and were carried all the way through. When the guitars waded in they added much depth, before abruptly stepping back again. This track was like a master potion, with elements added with powerful magic, enhancing the brew as it bubbled along. It became much more complex as it unfolded and I really enjoyed the guitar work.

“Won’t Dance” capered forth with swank and swagger. Again, I enjoyed those fascinatingly authentic guitars. Their arrangement was that of logical progression, exquisitely timed, without being formulaic. This track had a dirty rock sound, with many twists and turns in the tale. I particularly loved a bass heavy variant late in the track.

“Messing” didn’t mess around with any of the same sounds I’d heard already, opening with simple guitars, before a percussion heavy section. This was then joined by an absolutely raucous range of riffs, with guitar interjections and urgent vocals. This was a banger! I was hooked by some clever vocals, where on the lyric “stop messin’ around” the last note was held to great effect. I also loved a particular lyric – “inside you’re a slow moving train”. A terrific guitar solo was used to great effect. This track could be an epic track that accompanied a training montage in a movie. 

“Look You in the Eye” squared up with a slower and more reflective sound. Simple guitars opened with vocals and this was UPSIZE’s take on a ballad. Only, it still had balls. Powerful and honest riffs again emerged to anchor the sound. A great guitar solo appeared later in the track – it had all of the panache, without the pretentiousness. 

“Saturday Night” opened with a strong sound that had a percussion bias, which was soon joined by a great bass emphasis. UPSIZE added another sound potion to this spell, as they channeled the feelings of all us, as we remembered or looked forward to the freedom and fun of Saturday nights. (Ironically, I’m writing this on Saturday arvo, looking forward to mischief later…) I really enjoyed an epic key change later in the track, as this band again proved to be wizards of sound.

UPSIZE has created an album of honest, authentic, dirty rock tracks that because of their clarity, had me feeling like I was in the lounge with them. It’s a very personal sound, matched by the intensely personal subject matter. This was an album about being in love and about losing love, of hope, hopelessness and heartache. UPSIZE also pitched to their strengths, but ensured that each track had its own sound and character.

Back to the Harry Potter movies and these tracks. Like the movies, in these tracks you know what will happen. But there was magic and wizardry, as each track had a story that we can relate to and we therefore can form a bond with them. Like the movies, musical elements were added with great care, at the precise moment, resulting in an enthralling tale. Like the movies, the music was honest in its telling and it pitched to its strengths, but there was enough difference to hold my attention and to fire my imagination.

Play it loud and surrender to its sublime simplicity.

8/10

Greg Noble. 

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