Terry Call Me Terry LP
There’s a fairly crowded field of modern OZ DIY bands trafficking in jangly pop with post-punk smarts that owes more than a little to their nation’s ’80s greats (the GO-BETWEENS, the CANNANES, the PARTICLES, etc.), and TERRY has been one of the best of that bunch. Call Me Terry is their first full-length since 2018’s I’m Terry, which was itself the third in a rapid-fire succession of three LPs in three years, and even though previous TERRY efforts have always been skillful exercises in contrasts (the blurring of macro and micro lyrical concerns, perky melodies laced with darker subtexts, meticulously crafted pop song structures that still retain a feeling of shambolic looseness), it’s even more dialed-in this time around. With their multi-part guy/gal harmonies and non-stop carousel of hooks, tracks like “Centuries” and “Gold Duck” could have tumbled straight out of the International Pop Underground convention, but listen closely and the lyrics will shatter any lightweight twee fantasies—TERRY turns their focus to subjects ranging from colonialism to bodily autonomy to late-stage capitalist wealth disparities, and does so in a brutally honest and direct way without ever being didactic or clichéd. “Excuses” is a fuzzed-out stomper calling out the toxicity of privilege (“Blazer boys take after father / No excuses, knowing loopholes / Excuses for the entrenched”) before collapsing into a jumbled skronk of horns, and “Jane Roe” continues a dialogue that was started on an identically-titled but completely different song from the band’s previous LP, with playfully buzzing keys and shuffling beats circling a deceptively sugary-sweet chorus (“Baby, baby, baby / It’s a choice / It’s yours / You choose”) that’s more timely than ever. The most understatedly punk album of 2023.