Editors’ Notes “We wanted to create a bit of a rollercoaster,” Mitch Galbraith tells Apple Music. “There has to be this constant interplay between light and dark, between happy and sad.” The Ocean Alley guitarist is explaining the structure of the group’s third album, Lonely Diamond, a record that dabbles in psychedelic instrumentals and Western-movie-inspired ballads alongside the vintage indie-rock sound that the Sydney band is known for. The album was born from the experiences and pressures of the group’s mounting fame—extensive touring, festivals, missing home. “I think, subconsciously, there were themes of escapism and us wanting to get away, or slow down, or regroup in some way. We were feeling a bit burnt out,” he says. “We were longing for normality.” Here, Galbraith sheds light on each track on Lonely Diamond.

Dahlia
“We wanted to give a taste of the record, a little bit of everything, like an appetizer. We like structuring our intros to sound a bit ‘Whoa, what the hell's that?’ It's got to grab attention. We're trying to captivate people for 40 or 50 minutes. It was written in the last few days of recording; that's probably why it sounds so different. That was just what we were feeling like playing at the time. And it was great that we had free rein to do that. It felt like total freedom out of the normal songwriting structure.”

Tombstone
“It’s a bit retrospective and it's yearning for a better place, or wondering whether you missed out on an opportunity. At the time it was released, which was well after we'd written it and recorded it, people were saying, ‘Oh, it sounds like there's themes about the bushfires in Australia.’ That was going on at the time. And it totally wasn't, but it was eerie how it fitted like that. So that's just people making their own mind up about and interpreting the song in their own way.”

Way Down
“Angus [Goodwin, lead guitarist] and I started writing it in the living room of our flat. We worked it out from there and showed everyone. We focused on Angus' lead part throughout the song. It's pretty prevalent and it's just this screaming rock guitar. It's exactly what he wants to play; it's Angus' song, in a way. We just really focused on having that sound for the whole song. The only time it breaks up is in the bridge, where it's completely syncopated just for the bridge. It's the funnest song for me to listen to.”

Infinity
“That was Baden [Donegal, lead singer and guitarist] and I in the same living room, but months before Angus and I wrote ‘Way Down.’ I think that song really encapsulated Baden and I just sitting there on stools facing each other, with the sun warming our backs. It definitely feels like an insight into us at the time, realizations and acknowledgment of where we are at that point in time, as a band.”

Up in There
“This is where the downward spiral starts, going into the low point of the record. There’s this yearning feeling, about feeling a bit lost. The name of the song was just a bit of a joke. We used to say, if someone was a bit aloof or not really with it, a bit of a space cadet, that they were up in there. As in ‘What's going up in your head, mate? You're a bit out of it.’”

All Worn Out
“Lach [Galbraith], the keyboardist, wrote that, and it was probably the song that we changed the least from its first idea. It's about digging yourself out of a low point and finding the courage to move on. We wanted the song not to stay slow and really somber the whole time, so the saxophone solo at the end is really optimistic, and it's passionate, with the really long, drawn-out notes. Which is in total contrast to how it starts with the cello. We had two guests, Will Morrissey playing the saxophone and Lara King playing the cello. It was interesting to add another dynamic like that, and it's not something that we do often, but we thought the treatment of that song really deserved that.”

Stained Glass
“It’s about finding happiness just being yourself, and rejecting anything that's unnecessary that's not going to contribute to making yourself happy. That's the sparkly guitar, and these lovely fun guitar riff things. Right at the end is my favorite part, that really heavy section. Baden's vocals just drill it home. The line ‘I don't need confusion, does it make your life easier?’ just gives me goosebumps to this day. His delivery, more than anything. I think that's a really high point in Baden's performance on this whole record, that single line. There's just so much emotion behind it.”

Lonely Diamond
“All the tracks were named and everything was said and done, and we were like, ‘What are we going to call this [album]?’ Someone suggested Lonely Diamond. There was conversation and arguments about, ‘Well, if we call the album that, then people are going to think it’s the best track on the record or the one that sums it all up.’ But after a while we agreed that we could just do what we wanted and it didn't really matter what anyone else thought. [The song is] about being different. A lonely diamond is something that stands out. It's something that's different, and it's something that's strong, and it's something that's beautiful because of those two things. It's about being happy that you are different and accepting that that's okay.”

Wet Dreams
“It’s sensual, sexual; the bass player described it as horny. I don't know if you can call a song horny, but he did. It's about fantasy. It's about almost fantasy to the point of delusion. And it's because there's things in there about losing control and not being able to do things your way. Like, ‘Lovers in lucid heads’ is in one of the stanzas—it's just about dreaming about love, having sexual fantasies. Then of course the music goes with that—it's groovy, and it's smooth, and it's a bit restrained and slow. And different to a lot of the other songs, as Angus wrote and played the rhythm part on this track and there's not very many times where Angus writes and plays the rhythm.”

Hot Chicken
“It’s about temptation and being trapped, feeling a bit helpless, but at the same time you're really hyped up and energetic. We were watching a comedy special by Eric Andre, and he did this part where he was singing to one of his guests, Jack Black: ‘Hot chicken, tell me what I'm missing/Kiss another man while I'm cooking in the kitchen.’ And that was just super weird. We used to interrupt all our jam sessions and recording sessions by spontaneously breaking out into that song. It’d piss off our producer. We kept playing that groove over and over and it turned into a song, so Baden put some lyrics to it. It’s interesting how it started as a bit of a lighthearted joke, but in the end, there are these really dark and ominous lyrics about being stuck in a rut and being trapped and addicted to the wrong things and bad habits.”

Puesta de Sol
“It’s a murder ballad. It’s Baden's fictional storytelling about two lovers fighting and in the end they kill each other. I think that track in particular is driven by each of our own styles and what we really just wanted to do. It was a song that was written in the tail end of the process, so we were pushing for a bit more. Instead of stressing about it, I think we felt like, ‘Let's just write something that we feel like writing now. Let's not try too hard, and let's not think about it too hard.’ And that's what we came up with. It was the first time we started playing with that spaghetti Western idea. I can picture how Baden had all this imagery in his head when he was writing the lyrics, like a Western movie playing out in his head.”

Luna
“We'd just finished ‘Puesta de Sol,’ and we enjoyed writing those parts so much we just went to town on the spaghetti Western aesthetic. It was just something new for us. It was really important for us not to have lyrics in there. It really did challenge us to try and tell a story with the music alone. It just gave us the opportunity to purely focus on that sound and that Western aesthetic. I think there were some whispers in the control room, like, ‘We should do a spaghetti Western EP after this. Let's just pull back and finish the record and deal with that stuff later.’”

SONG
Dahlia
1
1:57
 
Tombstone
2
4:00
 
Way Down
3
3:20
 
Infinity
4
3:53
 
Up In There
5
4:22
 
All Worn Out
6
3:56
 
Stained Glass
7
3:47
 
Lonely Diamond
8
4:50
 
Wet Dreams
9
4:16
 
Hot Chicken
10
3:16
 
Puesta de Sol
11
4:24
 
Luna
12
3:35
 

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