The term 'prodigy' is vastly over used, but Australian songwriter Thomas Calder is, most definitely, just that.
Only 23 years old, the musician already holds vast respect in his native country. He's the creative force behind The Trouble With Templeton, and the group's breadth, their versatility, their ability to absorb any genre placed in their way is quite staggering.
Snapped up by Bella Union, The Trouble With Templeton's debut album 'Rookie' will be released on May 12th. A vivid, sparkling introduction to a band who can seemingly put their mind to anything, it's a vast, hugely ambitious document from a group still coming to terms with their own ability.
"It’s held together by something undefinable," Calder explains. "For me, it’s a whole kaleidoscope of sounds and genres, but there’s something holding it together, and that’s us as a band."
You can listen to 'Rookie' first via Clash. Check it out below, then find a track-by-track guide to the new album from Calder below that.
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Track-by-Track With Thomas Calder
"I wrote that in America a little while ago, when I was on tour without the rest of the band. That was one case of then really developing the song in the studio while we were recording it. We ran into a bit of trouble with some of the sections, but we worked really hard to make it what it is, and ultimately, it’s a song we’re all insanely happy with. We knew straight away is was the first track on the record. It’s from the perspective of an older man, who’s bitter and thinks everything goes wrong for him all the time."
'You Are New'
"This is a more youthful song. Based on high school, of someone changing their whole identity. Looking at a friend and seeing how much they’re influenced by the people and surroundings around them. People changing and being less of themselves than they should be."
"This song’s about a lot of things. It’s about the culture of my generation. It’s about the idea of courting someone and being romantic, and the difference of what you see when you go out. 'Out the back where the kids relax / And the clueless act on their impulse'. It’s about the physical attraction, and the verse is completely about a relationship, and the courting or romance of that. The confusion of fighting with yourself about what’s ‘right‘ or what group you’re in… and experiencing both."
'Like A Kid'
"That was very different in the demo stages: a lot more quiet and soft. At Harvest I saw Grizzly Bear and they blew me away. That experience completely influenced the way the song turned out; being louder, punchier and a lot weirder and driven. The song is about someone blaming all their problems on everything else in the world rather than themselves, and not being willing to do something about their problems, just whining about them all the time."
'Six Months In A Cast'
"This is about imagining an entire relationship before it even happens, but shooting yourself in the foot. Everything that’s being said is someone going, ‘Look, this is never gonna work, because someday I’ll sell your things, someday I’ll betray our vows…' Being really pessimistic. Someone not being willing to jump into something because of the things they think could go wrong."
"‘Climate’ is a bizarre one. Each line means something completely different. It’s one of those funny ones that I write sometimes and we then work on as a band… and it shouldn’t be any longer. Some songs should just be this long, be a minute-30: the song informs itself, sometimes. And it’s a perfect segueway into ‘I Recorded You’."
'I Recorded You'
"This song is about a troubled relationship. The petty little things: 'I recorded you shouting at me last night…' That’s such an awful thing to do, but I’m sure stuff like that goes on in relationships. 'Such a bastard to forget to switch out the light.' Being yelled at for not switching out the light, it’s one of those annoying things, one of those insignificant things in a relationship that become god-like because of how often they happen."
'Flowers In Bloom'
"Takes place in a hospital, the chorus of 'Flowers are always in bloom here', it’s about the flowers in a hospital rarely being dead because they change them so often, and there’s no gauge of time and it’s all very clinical. It’s about how you can get very confused there and not know what’s going on, and being in a weird emotional state."
"One of the things I like about it is that it doesn’t really repeat itself, it doesn’t have a chorus, which is something really interesting that I wanted to do; Have it feel like a song, but not in a traditional way in terms of verse-chorus. Every time the melody shifts, it’s a shift in perspective of people/character. It’s almost all of what the record has in one song, which is what I really like about it."
"‘Soldiers’ is the perspective of a child at a birthday party. It’s this horrible experience; the chorus talks about this family party and they’re all horrible old people. Which is quite dark. It’s the circus of family birthdays — not that I’ve experienced it, as I’ve got a great family — but the perspective of people when you’re younger is so elevated and raised."
"This is sort of about religion, but not really about religion. It’s about people who believe in things because they feel like they don’t have enough. Or need something else to make your life meaningful other than yourself, which can span anything. People thinking a partner, or religion, or a career being those things."
"‘Lint’ is weird. It’s from the perspective of an insane asylum, someone looking out a window and seeing 'so many scars wrapped in linen'. I’ve never been in an insane asylum, so I don’t now how it really is… At the end, the 'Sebastian' part switches from someone in the asylum to the mother of the person in there, wailing, 'Sebastian'. I didn’t know a Sebastian at the time I wrote that, but I do now. People ask me if it’s about him, but I’d never write that song about a friend!"
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