Genres: psychedelic pop, dance-punk, disco revival, gothic soul, blues rock
Sounds like: Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blondie, The Rapture, Brian Jonestown Massacre, early-era Kings of Leon, Mayer Hawthorne, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Dead Weather
Influences (according to their Facebook): A Love Supreme, Aladdin Sane. The many lives of Dylan and The Band. Patti, Patsy and Polly Jean. Emmylou, Gillian, and Allison. MINA. Prince his royal purpleness and sometimes Madonna. Mr Ladder and Callinan, Ed Kuepper and Mr Cave - Australiana. The Church, The Divinyls, The Angels, The Saints (The Preatures?). Split Enz. Vanda & Young & Young & Young. The great noise war. Talking Heads. Anyone Silly. Songs.
The Preatures are a five-piece band from Sydney, Australia whose trajectory over the past 18 months has been nothing short of impressive. Bassist Thomas Champion and guitarist Jack Moffitt were high school friends who, after meeting singer Isabella ‘Izzi’ Manfredi at the Australian Institute of Music in 2008, formed La Gloria. In early 2010, this band was playing a Rolling Stone covers set at the Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney’s trendy inner west, when they found themselves sharing a bill with Gideon Bensen and his band. The mutual appreciation was obvious, and Gideon agreed to join Izzi, Thomas, and Jack. Drummer Luke Davison came into the fold some six months later, providing the last missing piece of one of the most exciting bands of the past year.
Although only a few short years since their formation, July 2013 alone saw them open for HAIM and earn Pitchfork’s Best New Track for the title track from their EP “Is This How You Feel?” (which later netted them an ARIA award). While they have yet to release a full LP, their two EPs plus a reputation for incendiary live performances have already amassed them a significant following at home. With their debut LP due out later this year, it’s only a matter of time before they gain a significant fanbase in the US as well – especially given their upcoming performances at both Bonnaroo and Coachella.
Earlier this month, the band played five concerts at SXSW, which also featured their debut American TV performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. In fact, with a record 55 acts from Down Under playing this year’s SXSW, many media outlets have dubbed 2014 the year of the Australian Invasion (not bad for a nation of just 23 million!) – and The Preatures’ fanbase is the largest of them all.
Their recent hit single “Is This How You Feel?” was voted 9th on the prestigious 2013 Triple J Hottest 100 list, placing ahead of Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Kanye West and more. Triple J themselves have described them as “The Velvet Underground crashing into Motown,” with “deliriously charged and magnetic” live shows to match the “seamless fluidity and charisma to [their Shaking Hands EP] that suggests a band on the edge of something spectacular”.
Is This How You Feel?:
Manic Baby is an infectious modern-day disco track that combines with a healthy electropunk streak to approach Miles Davis-levels of coolness. Meanwhile, the psychedelic pop revival “Pale Rider” burns slowly before exploding into a cobweb of dark, jangly guitarwork. Frontwoman Isabella ‘Izzi’ Manfredi channels the voice of Grace Slick and wears her Velvet Underground & Pixies influence on her sleeve, wrapping it all up in a deceptive candy-coated sweetness.
Take a Card (neo-soul) (w/ Gideon on lead vocals):
Better Than It Ever Could Be (electro-pop):
Threat (psychedelic soul):
For an interview and a taste of their live performance:
For some Pink Floyd-esque jamming:
For more of Gideon’s vocals (sans other Preatures) on a Black Keys cover:
Shaking Hands EP (2012)
Is This How You Feel? EP (2013)
The one-two punch of Izzi Manfredi & Gideon Benson comprises the most promising vocal section I have heard since The Alabama Shakes – but unlike the Shakes (and with all due respect to them), everyone in The Preatures has the chops to match the vocals. While writing this article, I was trying to find a standout part of the band to highlight, before I realised that their consistency is the highlight.
I am going to make a prediction: this band (a shoo-in for Thursday IMO) will be one of the lower-billed acts that has everybody buzzing for the remainder of the weekend. Past Bonnaroos have often featured low-billed acts who blew up soon afterwards – e.g., Bonnaroo 2008 had Adele, Vampire Weekend & MGMT in the bottom half of the lineup, and Bonnaroo 2009 initially listed Phoenix as a café act – and I feel The Preatures could see a similar jump in popularity soon. For fans of psychedelic pop and art punk, The Preatures are a cannot-miss act.
I'm really happy to see them picking up a wider following... I'm just hoping they don't pull a Cut Copy, who haven't played a non-festival set in Australia in nearly three.f'ing.years. (who, me? Bitter? Pshaw!)