FOREIGN/NATIONAL - DÉPAYSEMENT (LP)
'Dépaysement' is the sound of being somewhere far, far away from home. It hums with the shock of being suddenly alone—in a place where no one cares who you are or what you’re doing.
On their debut album, Melbourne band Foreign/National sound enlivened. Having worked tirelessly on a string of acclaimed singles since the release of their self-titled EP in 2014, the band have embraced the longer format with open arms and a healthy dose of ambition.
From the opening bars of its titular track to the haunting death-rattle of ‘22’, the album’s closer, the band weave their way through a sprawling narrative with fresh lucidity.
“I swear I used to be a confident man. What happened to the confident man?” asks frontman Mark Gage on ‘Too Sentimental’, the LP’s first single, sifting through a distant memory—or perhaps a fading fantasy— with uncompromising honesty.
On ‘Mombasa’, we hear cues from Brian Wilson and Kamuran Akkor and as always, the sound of bassist Sean Gage and drummer Rhys Grunden sticking together like liquid nails, hurling the record forward with impossibly tight rhythmic interplay.
On keys, Sam Stearne brings palpable tension to ‘Ballerina’, and imbues ‘Nicole Warren’ with a gorgeous sense of weightlessness. Tom Stephenson, similarly omnipresent and shapeshifting, reaches dizzying heights of slacker ecstasy on ‘Sunny Afternoon’ and ‘Never Really’.
More than anything, however, ‘Dèpaysement’ shines as a product of undeniable chemistry and collective devotion. This is an album of songs that have lived many lives and taken many forms, but now feel strangely familiar and at home together.
Mixed by Joey Walker
Mastered by Crystal Mastering, Melbourne
Artwork by Alex Jennings