Bangers from Down Under: Sticky Fingers

This week I’d like to introduce you to Sticky Fingers, one of the best Aussie bands out there right now. Fusing reggae with soft rock, Sticky Fingers produce fantastic, laid-back songs that you’ll find yourself bobbing your head to.

The five-piece band, introduced to me once again by my Kiwi flatmate, consists of Dylan Frost (vocals/guitar), Beaker Best (drums), Seamus Coyle (lead guitar), Freddy Crabs (keys) and Paddy Cornwall (bass) and formed in Sydney in 2008. They have released four albums and three EPs, the most recent of which, ‘Yours To Keep’, was released this year after the band’s two-year hiatus, relating to Frost’s alcohol addiction and incidents with racial abuse. Despite this, their new album and their international tour have been well-received by fans.

The first song I’d like to highlight is called “Rum Rage” off their album ‘Land of Pleasure’. The song kicks off with two guitars playing a sweeping guitar riff before some choral vocals kick in. This song, to me, is the essence of ‘soft’ – Frost’s vocals are raspy and passionate, the guitars are simple and striking and the chorus is soothing. When the chorus kicks in the guitars shift to a more conventional arpeggio-based riff combined with echoed vocals from Frost. This is then followed by a simple yet beautiful guitar solo, sliding up and down the neck, drawing out single notes.

Whilst “Rum Rage” is a great example of the softer-rock style of Sticky Fingers’ discography, “Australia Street”, off ‘Caress Your Soul’, is a better representation of the reggae side of the band. The song, after the keys-based intro, launches straight into a mix of a jumpy, reggae-styled chord progression, a quiet, intricate lead riff and Frost’s unique vocals. This becomes more apparent as the pre-chorus emerges with the addition of the iconic reggae ‘wah’ sound on guitar whilst the drums build up to the chorus. “Australia Street’s” chorus, however, reminds me more of their soft/indie-rock style – the ambient tremolo picking, the use of a chorus alongside Frost’s vocals and less hi-hat focused drums.

To reflect Sticky Fingers’ indie-rock side, I would like to introduce “Kick On” off their newest album ‘Yours To Keep’. Starting with an intro that makes me think of the Kaiser Chief’s “I Predict a Riot” (if you listen to it, you’ll understand what I mean), the song begins somewhat slowly – a stripped back, quiet lead guitar riff that echoes alongside a muted, rugged strumming rhythm line and Frost’s vocals. As the song builds to the chorus, the song becomes lighter – the low, punchy rhythm line is swapped for a clean riff and the drums kick in, softly yet quickly riding on the hi-hats, building up for the chorus. And, as the chorus kicks in, introduced by Best hammering his tom-toms, the song becomes very indie-rock: the guitars gain a larger presence with more distortion, the drums are harder and more pronounced, and Frost is accompanied by backing vocals.

A few more songs I’d recommend are “How To Fly” (their biggest on Spotify), “Gold Snafu” (has a ridiculously catchy hook), “Not Done Yet” and “Cyclone” (I can only find this on YouTube, but I think it’s brilliant). I will definitely be looking forward to any new music they put out – and hopefully seeing them live, either down here in New Zealand or back home.

Photo credit: Sam Brumby

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