Cassette Kids have been busy. Since the frenetic and aggressively energetic debut We Are was released in 2008, the band have spent a year riding their self-created turbulence. This is a band who has endured countless hours working on their craft in an insatiable drive to create different and exciting music, and have earned their stripes on tour with some of the biggest acts in the business. Now ready to take on the world, the Kids step up to deliver their coming-of-age full length album Nothing On TV.
With typically indie rock influences that include The Rapture, Klaxons, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and No Doubt, Cassette Kids craft a grinding, colourful version of the genre which is as catchy as it is innovative. The quartet, which features singer Katrina Noorbergen, guitarist Dan Schober, bassist Dan Deitz and drummer Jake Read-Harber, came together from four distinct corners of the indie scene.
"We're all from completely different musical backgrounds," Noorbergen explains. "It's amazing how much we love the music we're making because it's such a strange fusion of what we're all into, but for some reason it just works!"
After forming three years ago in a flourishing Sydney live scene, the band have enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity earned by their ability to make the tamest dance floors gleam with sweat. The tracks from their mini-album We Are, including the crowd favourite You Take It, demanded just as much attention on record as Noorbergen demanded on stage.
Word spread fast, and soon Lily Allen requested they join her 2009 Australian tour. This topped off an already impressive twenty-four months of touring for the band which saw them play alongside The Music, The Ting Tings, Crystal Castles, and a sold-out tour with multi ARIA award winners The Presets, not to mention Big Day Out 2008.
Following the creative storm of We Are, the band set to work determined to create the very best album they could produce, refining their talent during a six month process of experimentation with songwriting and instrumentation. They later joined forces with Michael DiFrancesco, producer and member of Sydney outfit Van She, and engineer Richard Wilkinson (Hot Chip, The Magic Numbers) who continued to push the band's innovation whilst in the studio.
Noorbergen describes the process, "We're always trying to play around and experiment with sounds. Sometimes instead of starting with the concept of writing a song we just start off with sounds and what sounds do we like and does that sound like anything we've heard before? Instead of building around riffs we're about how something sounds first and foremost and then we build around that. That's the reason we got Mikey and Rich involved with the album, because we knew they'd try to push those boundaries and bring along a whole array of synths, drum machines and other toys we could play around with to come up with some really interesting music."
Along with their passion for sonic experimentation, the album is inspired by some strong themes centred around taking action, and the motivation to get up and take charge of life, themes which ignite Noorbergen.
"The reason why we're in a band and we're being creative is because we want to be proactive, do what we want, to be part of and to create pop culture rather than just passively consuming it," she says. "It's so much more satisfying running amuck and being part of it. For us that's what encapsulates the title of Nothing On TV on so many levels."
The resulting record is a big step forward for the band. Noorbergen's delivery is musically more assured and confident, her use of melody now more dynamic with the greater use of tone in her voice, particularly in tracks such as Game Player and Lying Around. Schober and Deitz's screaming, squelching guitar and bass continues to stretch sonic boundaries with their complicated network of effects pedals. Freakie Sweetie and Hey Baby showcase Schober's guitar stepping up a notch with his unique and catchy lead hooks while Read-Harber sets the temperature gauge on the skins. The album displays a decidedly more pop-styled direction while maintaining that unique Cassette Kids grit.
As their profile gains heat and their musicianship matures, Cassette Kids have an exciting future ahead of them. And with a lot of positive chatter buzzing through the international industry, this is an album which a lot of eyes are watching closely.
Nothing On TV heralds the arrival of one of Australia's most entertaining young bands. They could not be more ready for the challenge.