Track by Track is a segment where we interview artists to dig a little deeper and take us inside the tracks of their latest releases. We caught up with Jake Robertson, one of the most familiar faces in the Melbourne scene, who's back with another release under his shapeshifting solo moniker Alien Nosejob. His fourth full-length album Paint It Clear is loaded with sharp hooks, cool synths and new wave goodness.
Jake Robertson is responsible for a good chunk of Melbourne's best hardcore and garage punk in the last decade. The prolific and versatile artist is always reinventing himself through his alter ego Alien Nosejob. Whether it’s through ferocious hardcore punk or wobbly garage pop, Robertson has been zigzagging between various sounds and projects (Ausmuteants, School Damage, Smarts and many more). In short, Robertson has been consistent with spewing up a mutated palette of zany, hyperactive punk adventures.
Following the blast of blistering hardcore punk off the couple HC45 singles and his previous full-length album, Once Again The Present Becomes The Past, Robertson dives into a world of caffeinated disco beats and nervy synth-punk on his latest effort Paint It Clear. Released through Anti Fade Records and Feel It Records and recorded with Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring), the 11-track album is a head-spinning compendium of stomping hooks, new wavish floor-fillers and jangly, free-roaming guitars.
Even though there isn’t a particular style Robertson latches onto here, the new album synthesizes his natural punk style of frenzied guitar antics with sonic richness. While the spastic Devo-inspired lead single “Leather Gunn” is driven by its frenetic energy and jagged post-punk jitters, “Duplicating Satan” flourishes with its infectious beats and cruising new wave impulses. “Kings Gambit” radiates from its spiraling noise of spacey synth lines and hypnotic guitar grooves. “Crusader of Coles” and “Phone Alone” fall into the kaleidoscopic jangle of classic Flying Nun bands with their sardonic lyrics and pop sensibilities. In nearly 35-minutes, Robertson blows through another album where he explores endless variations of an instantly identifiable sound.
To dig deeper into the new album, we had the pleasure of catching up with Robertson, who walks us through the etches of Paint It Clear.
Jake Robertson: Snotty, childish lyrics over three "gloomy" chords. Not a particularly flattering portrayal of the art snob. I wrote this from the perspective of this guy that I witnessed punishing the staff at a local record store. You know, that "I know everything about everything" kinda person. Yuck!
Wrote the riff for a "new Leather Towel sound." COVID pulled the plug on that idea. People tell me this sounds like Devo — love em, but not intentional.
Definitely trying to channel some 1983-era Cure on this one. Curb Stomp Satan! GOD RULES!
"Crusader of Coles"
Very loosely based on my parents' freezer. Whenever I go to their house, my mum always tells me there's nothing to eat, but they got a fridge and freezer full. Maybe it's an excuse to head down to the Woolies and get another bargain? I can sympathize, it's a great feeling.
Half of this is my home demo and half is recorded by Mikey Young. The reason: I couldn't be bothered relearning how to play it. Too hard!
Touring is awesome and definitely something I miss, especially given the current travel restrictions. This one was written during a tour I did in 2017 or so, there were moments that felt like Groundhog Day.
Written long before that TV show. The title is a reference to Shaun [Connor] (from Ausmuteants) annihilating me at Chess every time we played. What a nerd.
The lyrics are about somebody who just scrolls through their phone all day and wonders why they're depressed. Not particularly deserving of the Miles Franklin Award.
"Clear as Paint"
I was surprised that the drums didn't take me all night in this one. My arms fell off after, but I got it first shot. From memory, it's about manipulation and disguising your words.
Originally going to be a School Damage song. Lyrically it's about the social anxiety involved with holding a conversation with somebody you see every few months. I definitely wrote the bassline with Dani Damage in mind.
"Bite My Tongue"
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I wrote this one after watching an Ed Kuepper & the Aints gig a while back. The bassline was sentenced to murder, but reduced to manslaughter after it killed my wrists.
Paint It Clear is out now through Anti Fade Records and Feel it Records. Purchase the album here.