by Josh Taylor
I’ve always thought that it’s peculiar yet marvelous that while I’m getting ready for the cooler seasons, the bottom half of the globe is warming up. I really wish I could migrate south for the winter and take Antonio Paul’s EP Treasures with me, simply because it is the perfect album for living it up in the sun. It’s quite appropriate then, that Antonio Paul are from a small surfer town in Western Australia.
But Antonio Paul is not one person, but two—Marc Papalia and Michael Edwards. Together with an iPad, a sample pad, a couple of guitars and some crowd vocals, the two have everything they need to create a full band sound. I’m not just talking about on the album either; they’re fully capable of doing it live as well. What is noteworthy is that even though their music is created with the help of technology, the pair has done an excellent job of giving the instrumentation a human feel, complete with the urgency and energy that their music demands.
Antonio Paul has some traces of The Kooks, Phoenix and Darwin Deez, but the influence that rears its head the most is punk-rock. Yet they’re not a punk band. Research reveals that Bunbury, Australia has an emerging punk and DIY scene, so in order for a band to succeed in the area they’ve got to tap into that fan base. This explains why, for an indie band, Antonio Paul’s songs are driven by punk drum beats pushing 220bpm. It also accounts for the sing-along hooks and crowd vocals, but everything still fits together in a way that makes sense. Of course, the band had to release several EPs before they got it right. But according to the band, Treasures is what they were aiming for all along.
The DIY spirit is also alive and well in AP. The band created their own logo and designed other graphic elements that are slick yet entirely DIY. Each of the band’s EPs were self recorded and produced in a shed, or was it a bedroom? But they sound fantastic.
One of the most overlooked benefits of doing it yourself is that you can experiment endlessly. Antonio Paul takes full advantage of this. Besides giving their songs ample layers, they fill in every crevice with little nuances, but only where it will add to the quirkiness of the song. In “Monsters”, there is one part where all of the instruments drop out for a brief guitar part. If you’re listening to the song on headphones, you hear the guitar part on one side and on the other, you hear someone quietly singing the guitar part. It’s almost as if the person next to you is singing along to that little melody. I even looked over my shoulder several times to see who was singing before I figured it out. Treasures has several of those odd little Easter eggs.
Treasures is Antonio Paul’s latest EP and it is three tracks of syncopated samples, twangy guitars and a fun carefree vibe. The band evolved with the release of several three-song EPs before Treasures. My favorite track is “City Dreams” for its dance-friendly xylophone. “Monsters” has a similar sound, and lyrically it’s probably the quirkiest. “West Coast Kids” is a lot slower than the two other songs and serves as homage to their hometown friends and their laid-back surfer charm. Speaking of charm, Antonio Paul’s Australian accent pervades the EP, making the music that much more enjoyable.
I’ve saved the best part about the band for last. If you haven’t already listened to the music, I suggest you hit the play button right about now because it will make Treasures all the more impressive. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Besides being fiercely independent, DIY, and having a fully-developed sound, the best part about Antonio Paul is that they’re only nineteen. Yup, believe it. They’re just beyond the age where you can’t chalk up their accomplishments to pure prodigy talent, yet they are self-aware enough to use all of their strengths to their full potential. It’s a great place to be.
The end result is a party. Antonio Paul is already making a name for themselves in Australia and I suspect it won’t be long before they make their way up to the Northern Hemisphere. They’ve already opened for notable Australian bands Sugar Army and End of Fashion. At nineteen, they’ve got plenty of time to make their big “City Dreams” come true.
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, The Maccabees, Vampire Weekend, Los Campesinos!, Bloc Party, Girls