Baby, You’re a Vampire is an astonishing record from start to finish, an album full to bursting with hooks, ideas and glorious noise. It’s the sound of a band firing on all cylinders, passionately in love with the noise they make together. It’s songwriter Ben Fletcher’s most confident and ambitious effort to date. It’s got moments of transcendence that would make the Arcade Fire blush, dark corners that would frighten Robert Smith, and ideas that would make Brian Eno say, ‘bugger, I wish I’d thought of that’.
It’s not the kind of thing you can pull off in a weekend – and Baby, You’re a Vampire has been a long time coming. In the months following the release of The Devoted Few’s last album, Billboard Noises, Fletcher had a headful of songs and a million ideas about how to record them. But his second job as guitarist for Sarah Blasko kept him otherwise occupied touring the world for much of the next year, putting Devoted business temporarily on hold. Then, early the following year, Devoted Few won a demo competition, giving them ten days in the studio with Anton Hagop (silverchair, Dissociatives), where the new songs were finally committed to tape. The album’s wide-screen touches were added a few weeks later at BJB with Scott Horscroft (Sleepy Jackson, The Panics), and a phone call to Nashville, Tennessee turned up mixer Jacquire King (Kings Of Leon, Modest Mouse). ‘Do you have a couple of weeks free to mix our album?’ the band politely enquired of King. ‘What are you doing the day after tomorrow?’ came the reply. Ben and Barry grabbed their toothbrushes and flew to Nashville, and Baby, You’re a Vampire was subsequently polished to perfection in ‘the buckle of the bible belt’, as King likes to call it.
Fletcher flew back into Sydney with something very special in his carry-on luggage. More special, even, than the Elvis mug he got at Graceland. A humble CD-R containing the album Baby, You’re A Vampire. What kind of album is it? I’ll give you a few more clues. It’s got music that sounds like a city going up in flames, and words that sound like the poetry you hear in your dreams. It’s got songs about love, songs about war, songs about dead poets, and songs about those guys who pissed the band off that time. It’s got at least one song about the futility of all human endeavour that nevertheless makes you want to dance like a lunatic, and a couple of songs about vampires to boot. It is, (you guessed it), a world-class Australian indie rock record. It’s the new album by The Devoted Few – and they can’t wait for you to hear it.