Since their debut gig at the Post Office Hotel back in March, Electric Toothbrush have hit just about every Melbourne band room on offer, releasing their debut EP City Sweeper on the 29th September and earning themselves a Tote Residency in the process. Fusing an agile soundscape that bounces between post-punk, blues, jazz and indie-pop, emboldened with theatricality, the Melbourne 4-piece are never short of an infectious hook or revitalising turn of phrase.
The brainchild of Dan McAuthur (guitar, vocals), adding Anni Wagar to the mix proved a turning point for the band; “I just heard Anni singing harmonies to some recordings one day and thought, why I haven’t I realised this earlier?”. After a break over the summer of 2017, imbued with a newfound desire and purpose, the likes of Lachlan “Curley” Stirling (bass) and Dan “Butch” Negro (drums) were recruited to fill out the “symbolic upgrade” which now graces the stage.
Their debut EP City Sweeper offers an insight into the band both musically and thematically. “When we decided to record, those were the four songs that made sense, they all fit under the same umbrella of concepts”. Not so much genre defiers as they are compilers, passages of songs navigate one another via rapid pivot points that unite alternate styles. “I write it with the hope to have it feel like that… going from one thing to another” hints Dan. “Offering changes of expression” is key to a song writing process that “offer(s) things to everyone”.
It also reflects the subtext of City Sweeper, an attempt to explore the vast array of realities pervading the early hours of the mornings; “It’s a huge mesh of viewing different realities, the person that drives the city sweeper sees the aftermath; early in the morning, in the city, in peoples apartments and backyards, people going to work and people going home”, describes Wagar.
Being music students, each member appreciates the importance of developing their technical knowledge and ability, but also stepping away to focus on their own creative development. “We’ve all taken a step away from studying”, tells Curley. “Sometimes it takes away from the actual experience of creating and putting yourself into the zone of deconstructing and reconstructing what it is for yourself. At a certain point, you have to trust yourself to take that step outside of those constraints”.
Having played bills with the likes of Porpoise Spit and The Tropes, a level of professionalism has rubbed off on the band’s live performances; “It’s good to always look up to people like that, taking it seriously, as performers putting energy into every song”. On stage, there’s forever a sharpness to the explosive energy and a meticulous control over transitions. At any one time the band can appear to be brimming with pop, funk, melancholy, vengeance or mischief, thereby reflecting the varied realities engendered thematically within their music. Such electric dynamism justify the waves they’ve spawned for themselves and the dentists they forever endeavour to deprive of business.