Named after a suburb perched on the outer fringes of Melbourne, Lower Plenty are comprised of some of Australia's most talented musicians. The quartet are typically Australian in that they seem to exist on borrowed members, drawing together musicians responsible for bands like Total Control, The UV Race, Deaf Wish and The Focus. Unlike the harsh and direct approach of many of these outfits, Lower Plenty take the circular route, preferring to dwell in isolation and self-reflection, the result being some truly astonishing home recordings.
The quartet of Daniel Twomey (percussion), Jensen Tjhung (guitar + vocal), Sarah Heyward (percussion + vocal) and Al Montfort (guitar + vocal) all hail from various areas in and around Melbourne, a city known for it's ability to attract cultural expatriates from around the country, often leaving the rest of the continent devoid of activity. It is an incestuous town - communities are tight; bands share members, record in home-made studios, and often play to packed venues or back-alley warehouses alike.
Of late, it seems as though Lower Plenty have come to personify this approach to music making in Melbourne. They meet rarely, in the down time between tours or jobs. Rumour has it they gather around a kitchen table, write and record on the spot, and call it quits for another year, heading home to pick up their other projects.
As a result, their records take on a quality of restlessness. Songs enter the room, stir around, and depart just as suddenly, leaving the listener with a sense of something lost. It is this impact that has kept Lower Plenty active in Melbourne, despite all odds. Listeners demand it; they are a crowd favourite, and if word of a rare Lower Plenty gig gets around, artists and musicians from all corners of the city will be there, waiting patiently.
This album was recorded in a kitchen in Collingwood, I was there, I saw it happen. It was probably freezing cold and grey outside, the band were rugged up against the cold of another Melbourne winter. We exchanged a few brief words before I retreated out the front door, leaving them to their reverie. They looked at peace in that small house, seated in a circle, each exploring a musical idea of another. The results are here on paper, wrapped up with a bow. Sister, Sister.