Bear the Mammoth, Australia’s well-known post-rock band, is back with a compelling new album, “Purple Haus“, due to be released on July 28, 2023. Since their last album “Years Under Glass” in 2018, the band has refined their sound and style, crafting a record that seamlessly combines their signature post-rock aesthetic with an exploration of more experimental elements.
For listeners who appreciate the musical stylings of sleepmakeswaves, And So I Watch You From Afar, or Boards of Canada, “Purple Haus” promises a familiar yet innovative journey. This latest offering sees the band pushing their creative boundaries, experimenting with synths and different compositional styles, which has resulted in an album that pulses with energy and rich textural nuances.
In addition to exploring the band’s groundbreaking new album, today we uncover an unexpected side of Bear the Mammoth: their profound appreciation for the uniquely Australian film genre, Ozploitation. This distinctive cinematic movement of the 70s and 80s, known for its wild, gritty, and often outrageous B-grade films, holds a special place in the band’s heart.
“Australia can be alright sometimes… Nothing makes my heart swell with Aussie pride quite like the spectacular array of bat-shit crazy b-grade cinema we produced in the 70s and 80s.” They admit.
In a delightfully candid and unapologetically patriotic manner, the band has offered up their top 5 Ozploitation films from the 20th century.
5 – RAZORBACK (1984)
What if ‘Jaws’ but it’s a massive pig in the outback? Sold? Sold. A journalist goes missing and her husband has to adjust to remote Australian bushland to find the answers. The answers are mainly ‘there’s a wild boar the size of a bus eating people’.
4 – STUNT ROCK (1978)
You like stunts? You like rock? Lucky, because that’s literally all you get for 91 minutes and it’s awesome. Legendary Aussie stunt performer Grant Page shows off a best-of reel of his craziest most death defying stunts, intercut with an over the top indulgent live performance by the fantasy themed prog rock band SORCERY who have full on wizard battles on stage. Amazing to have on in the background at house parties.
3 – HOWLING III – THE MARSUPIALS (1987)
Did you love seminal American werewolf film ‘The Howling’? Enjoyed the tacky schlock sequel ‘Howling II’? Well that doesn’t matter at all because ‘Howling III – The Marsupials’ has absolutely nothing to do with them. It is however a mindbendingly surreal look at werewallabies (?) trying to make the most of their lives in the Aussie outback, and avoid the evil government agents who want to experiment on them or something… i dunno it gets very hard to follow, but it is written and directed by Phillippe Mora – son of renowned Australian artist Mirka Mora who mainly did far more ‘tasteful’ things.
2 – DEAD END DRIVE-IN (1986)
It would be a crime to not mention a film by the king of the genre Brian Trenchard-Smith, and this punk dystopian classic kinda sums up the vibe of the whole era. Society has collapsed, crime is out of control, and some kids decide to sneak into the local drive-in movie theatre – only to find out it’s now being run as a massive fascist prison camp for unemployed troublemakers, where they can get up to whatever kind of drug addled gang violence they fancy. Jimmy and his girlfriend want to get out though, and that’s gonna be interesting.
1 – HOUSEBOAT HORROR (1989)
By far the ‘worst’ piece of cinema on the list, this is the most brilliantly enjoyable turd you could ever wish to see, and it gets better with every viewing. Shot on video with a tiny budget, yet featuring a few soon-to-be stars like Alan Dale; Houseboat Horror is exactly what you think it is. A rock band hire a houseboat to shoot a rad music video down at Lake Infinity (actually Lake Eildon, 3 hours drive from the studio BTM recorded Purple Haus in), and wouldn’t you bloody know it? There’s a psychopath called Acidhead lurking around the lake who fancies killing everyone in fairly daft ways for a fairly daft reason. Even if you don’t like the tired old 80s slasher routine, the real highlights of this film are the brilliantly camp catchy songs the band plays, and the unfathomably aussie reactions to horrific situations. A must-see.
The journey towards the band’s new album “Purple Haus” begins with the release of “Freshwater” on May 19, 2023. A tune that primes the listener for what’s to come and marks the start of a new chapter in the evolution of Bear the Mammoth.
Speaking about their new album, bassist Stephen Evans remarks: “The fun we’ve had experimenting with new ideas and themes still feels fresh, and we think the album is a good reflection of that. It’s the most synth-heavy album we’ve done so far, and there was a lot of influence from different genres that fell into the music naturally.”
“Purple Haus” showcases the band’s willingness to venture into new musical territory while maintaining their essence. The first single from the album, “Freshwater“, is a testament to this – starting with heavy distortion and thunderous instrumentals, it builds into a symphony of delicate delays and booming lows that capture the band’s dynamic range.
“Freshwater is our first single, and it was born from us all going into a jam with our distortion pedals cranked way too loud. We quickly decided we wanted to get some math-rock style riffs coming out too, along with a shoegaze-y outro. It was certainly difficult to compose and piece together, but so very enjoyable.” Evans recounts.
The album demonstrates a confident evolution, with the band’s penchant for musical experimentation bringing an additional dimension to their established post-rock sound.
“Purple Haus” does more than just add to Bear the Mammoth’s discography – it carves out a space for further growth and reaffirms their place in Australia’s vibrant post-rock scene.
Be sure to catch their album launch shows that promise to be an immersive sonic experience.