It can be an understatement to bestow the cliche “long-awaited” upon King Stingray’s self-titled debut album. The Yirrkala band from north-east Arnhem Land have teased us with 5 singles. The primary of them, Hey Wanhaka – which suggests “what’s taking place?” – was launched in late 2020; Get Me Out, Milkumana, Camp Canine and Let’s Go have all adopted.
Including to the appreciable hype are the band’s bloodlines: the singer, Yirrnga Yunupingu, is the nephew of the Yothu Yindi chief, Dr M Yunupingu, whereas the guitarist, Roy Kellaway, is the son of the identical band’s bass participant, Stuart. Each additionally play in Yothu Yindi themselves.
The 5 aforementioned singles make up a full half of this album’s 10 tracks, with Get Me Out and Milkumana each nominated for Apra awards as track of the 12 months. They’ve been all around the airwaves – and deservedly so. The truth that their self-described Yolngu surf-rock will already be acquainted to many listeners on no account detracts from this glowing report.
Certainly, it’s nice to have them collectively in a single place, fleshed out by 5 extra songs that sit effectively alongside each other. Most bands can be proud to have a group like this on a biggest hits album. However there’s no lack of continuity or context, with a pure ebb and circulate reflecting this band’s comparatively brief existence.
It additionally highlights their deep roots. Yunupingu and Kellaway, brothers by adopted kinship, have identified one another since childhood and play prefer it. They make all the pieces sound straightforward – listening to the immediately interesting hook of Lupa, the opening observe, and it’s onerous to imagine it hasn’t been a single, too. (It was a B-side to the restricted seven-inch of Hey Wanhaka.)
The emphasis is on Yolngu satisfaction and uptempo, festivity. Get Me Out, a track about getting out of town and again to nation, has an irresistible driving momentum. The place the Warumpi Band’s My Island Dwelling ached with homesickness, Get Me Out captures the second of “feeling the cool breeze in your face once more” and the nice and cozy embrace of household.
Like Yothu Yindi, they will assemble an ideal dance groove – Milkumana, which incorporates the nimblest of funk bass runs, might have appeared on Tribal Voice – and just like the Warumpi Band, they will rock onerous once they wish to: Raypirri verges on heavy metallic however the power is all optimistic, lifted up by Yunupingu’s ecstatic vocals.
Candy Arnhem Land, one of many new tracks right here, is one other spotlight. It’s an ideal fusion of rock and manikay (conventional track), Dimathaya Burarrawanga’s shuddering yidaki taking part in including weight to a primary four-on-the-floor beat. Life Goes On is an acoustic gem with stunning choral harmonies, nearer in sound to Elcho Island’s sensible Saltwater Band than Yothu Yindi.
No matter their household connections, the one factor King Stingray don’t sound like is a throwback. This isn’t a revival act. All the things right here sounds up to date, by a band residing their very own dream, radiating with happiness and infectious enthusiasm. It’s taking place.
King Stingray is out now