"I wrote 'O Yeah' for a bet," says End Of Fashion frontman Justin Burford, of the anthemic first single off the band's 2005 self-titled debut album.
At the time he was playing with another Perth band, The Sleepy Jackson, alongside End Of Fashion's guitarist Rod Aravena. "A friend bet me that I couldn't write a song at the drop of a hat. Of course I can't, and I was going to look like an idiot, but my mate was egging me on and I was high on life that day." He said, 'Go on then, write one right here right now'. And I did. It's the only time I've written a whole song in one sitting! To shut him up..."
With its thumping bass line and stick-in-your-head chorus, 'O Yeah' sits between ten equally punchy and unforgettable tunes that make this foursome from Perth - founding members Justin and Rodney, Nick Jonsson on drums and Tom King on bass - one hell of an item to look out for.
End Of Fashion spent the start of the year in Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Mississippi recording their first longplayer. "Oxford is a college town. People outside of the studio seemed a bit bemused," laughs Jonsson, "that a band would come all the way from Australia to this small town they all wanted to get out of. But it was cool. There's a good feeling there and great music." After work they saw T-Model Ford in Proud Larry's bar and P Lander Z and King Elementary in a club called Two Sticks. Aravena reckons if you listen hard you can hear Mississippi on the record, though clearly End Of Fashion don't sing the blues.
Your first songs tend to wear the influence of where you come from. And you can hear everything from old school guitar solos to wall of noise crescendos and straight-up garage rock on "End Of Fashion". Sometimes Burford sounds a shade like Freddy Mercury ("I'm still a huge Queen fan. You can like anything, even Fleetwood Mac, when you're in a band called End Of Fashion") sometimes like John Lennon in his "White Album" phase.
There's no trace of Jean Michel Jarre (Aravena's favourite as a kid), Sisters Of Mercy (Burford went through a Goth phase at the age of 10) or Nirvana - though every band member cites the latter as a formative influence. "We're not really an angry band," grins King.
Boil it all up and End Of Fashion sound like no one but themselves. "For my part, I went into the studio thinking if something's essential I'm going to stick with it, but if I can change something, I will," says Aravena. "We don't want to record songs that sound the same as our demos. I'm always asking, have we progressed? Have we evolved? Have we found the End Of Fashion sound?"
They have: and it's infectious, timeless get-go fabulous rock that makes you want to join in, sing along, jump up and down. That's the vibe on the feel-good opener 'She's Love', the blissfully noisy 'The Game' and the rollicking 'O Yeah'. 'Anymore' pulls right back to spotlight Burford's distinctive wail. Then it's back to the relentless energy of 'Too Careful' and 'Lock Up Your Daughters'.
All 11 tracks take root in your psyche after just one listen. Not bad for a band that's had humble down from the start:
"Initially I just wanted to get up and be able to play the same stages as I'd seen great local bands like Jebediah and The Fergusons play in Perth: the late great Grosvenor, the Rosemount, Mojo's in Fremantle," says Burford. Jonsson's dream is a simple one: "to tour and play drums every night," while King aims to "stop doing car washing to pay the bills". Ask and you shall receive.
But critics beware the lure of stamping this band the new whatever. Because fashion is the last thing on End Of Fashion's collective mind. "I want to break down the walls - within that context, that image, we can do anything we want no matter whether it's super cheesy or punk," says Burford. "I want to kill fashion, see the end of it."
But it's not the end for the band itself! They're just about to make a return to the Australian music scene with the release of their long-awaited second studio album, expected for release in September 2008.