Expatriate – Lovers Le Strange

Expatriate are a Sydney band, comprised principally of vocalist Ben King, drummer Chris Kollias, and keyboardist/engineer Damian Press, who owns the studio where the group does their recording and rehearsing. With tours with Decoder Ring and label-mates The Grates now on the menu, Expatriate have released their debut EP Lovers Le Strange, and its one of the best EPs of the year, a sublime snapshot of a band beginning to find their stride.

Opening track The Spaces Between has been getting major airplay, and with good reason. It’s a solemn and sombre song, but one that avoids straying into depression or dourness. Kings vocals sit perfectly over the excellent instrumentation, and the whole song is infused with an emotional intensity and nakedness that is often lacking in many of today’s new bands.

Get Out, Give In is a slightly more poppy effort, whose titular chorus is a superb piece of singalong excitement. Killer Kat uses a Kraftwerk style synth riff to introduce itself, but then keeps the tempo and mood up to an almost psychotic level, while Aviation At Night is a more sombre number, which will probably remind some listeners of Interpol or Bloc Party, but without the pretensions of these bands.

Finally, the last track on the EP is an excellent remix of opening track The Spaces Between by tour-mates Decoder Ring, and although it is not vastly different, there is still an extra something added to the song with its multi layered vocals and slightly modified instrumentation.

All in all, this is a superb debut, one of the best EPs of the year. This is no flash-in-the-pan garage band, looking to cash in on the latest trend. Expatriate are here for the long haul, and if following releases have the strength of the Lovers Le Strange EP, they should draw a fan following that is eager to hear a fresh, confident new band that proudly wears their hearts on their sleeves.