I first heard The Peep Tempel’s ‘Carol’ back in 2014, and at the time, I had no idea what to make of it. Sure, I’d listened to plenty of acts like Eddy Current Suppression Ring, so I was used to hearing the Australian accent delivered with such ease against raw, primal rock music, but there was something about ‘Carol’ that I couldn’t quite get.
I don’t know if it was the lyrics, the constant proclaiming that “I don’t think Trevor is good for you,” or if it was the cringe factor that was evident in the almost childlike rhyming structure of the track, but for quite a while, I couldn’t enjoy this track. But despite this, I kept trying to like it – I was certain that there was some sort of underlying genius within the track that was just barely escaping me with each listen.
Eventually, I started to become hooked by the track’s hypnotic nature; the constant, repetitive, driving bassline, the simple lyrics, and the somewhat dreamy guitar work evident within the verses. The song began to make sense to me, but I was still hung up on the lyrics – they sounded far too simple, almost as if no thought had been put into them at all. It sounded lazy to me; the music was perfectly constructed, but it was ruined by an exercise in laziness within the songwriting process.
As time went on though, I began to learn more about the band. Their songs often, whether they intend to or not, take on a slice-of-life approach with their construction. In the case of ‘Carol’, and other tracks on the record Tales, they’re sung from the point of view of a man who has trouble dealing with and expressing his emotions. If you will, imagine those on the lower rungs of society, and imagine the songs being sung by them. At this point, you start to consider the simplistic, everyday-life style of songwriting that the band employs within these songs, and it all starts to make sense as the song’s genius becomes apparent.
As an aside, a year after the release of the group’s Tales record, I moved to their hometown of Melbourne. One night, they played a show that was not even a five minute walk from my house. For some reason, I decided that I didn’t want to go, and stayed home. Since then, I’ve regretted that decision, and hope against hope that the group will one day recreate this gig, playing the small, intimate location that their increasing fame is now disallowing them to perform in.