Leaving the Station: A Listen to Berlin/Marine by The Nagging Doubts

A patchwork of eclectic vinyl collections curated by their parents is where we begin our tale of The Nagging Doubts: A promising export from the tight-knit musical scene of Sydney, Australia. Enthusiasm and capability in bounds, the five youngsters were still at high school when they managed to create their first lauded EP Deug Lane, capturing the attention of ex Lemonheads drummer Nic Dalton, who exposed the band through his Half A Cow label. It was his introduction of the group to producer Wayne Connolly (The Vines), and a natural maturing, that sparked a dedicated journey of discovery leading to their present desired output.

Now under Conolly’s Scenic Drive label, the five piece's next expression due early next year, is five-track EP Autoclam, with the initial double a side Berlin / Marine out today, October 30th. Of Berlin, lead singer Joe Wilks elucidates:

"This new sound seemed to mimic some of the mindscapes I felt during the trip away; being in a foreign place for the first time without parents or any real anchor to remind you of a life with structure and routine. It was Berlin particularly that came to mind when I listened to the song because it was a city that seemed to run itself and didn’t feel the need to cater for tourists, it was unforgiving yet with a lot of integrity to it.”

A foghorn in the misty distance overlaps with shimmering guitars, fired from fellow countryman Nick Cave's Mercy Seat, launch the essential picked, post-punk bass that there can’t be enough of in my book. An echoing, rich voice tells us a story, “I’m burning up, I hear it calling me now,” as the assent into adulthood begins in a literal and metaphorical sense, while a siren style synth and lamenting backing whip up a weird, swirling feel. The song progresses; tiers come and go as moods and form change in a heartbeat. In the same camp as the French outfit Structures, this is a jam.

Marine as the band say “represents shedding the physical and mental constraints of High School and all that comes with it and being thrust into a new reality that makes you feel like you're closer to the source of life. The song isn’t limited to the idea of leaving school, that state of mind is also applicable to forming or breaking relationships, going through a period of self-discovery, or any period where you feel like you’ve shaken up the snow globe that is your mind and are open to anything and full of energy to get out there.”

Tenderness arrives in this second track and the soothing sounds of the ocean. The profound, swirling spirit is held, but this time the focus is on melody and voice, with the beautiful tones of a male/female duet underscored by a more traditional rock song. There is emotional intensity pouring out of every note of the song. Hearing the words, “I’ve got a feeling I’ve stepped into a brand new phase in time,” with the tone of the music reminds us that, although it is a joyous, moving time, there is still a glance over the shoulder for an awareness of what is left behind.

The title of the EP from which they sprung draws from 1960’s advertisements for pharmaceuticals, and the music captured on the records wrestles with a potent mix of the highs and lows of leaving youth behind and entering the subsequent phase of life. Whether you are right there with the band or are way past, resonance can occur through high-quality sounds.

Article by Beverley Knight