Melbourne’s Terry offer Surreal Punk Positivity in the face of Australian Political Turmoil.

Their joyful new single ‘Gronks’ happily disrespects style and traditional forms of meaning and proves you can be inventive and elemental all at once.

Photo: Oscar Perry | Words: Lloyd Bolton

Terry represents the pure joy of music making in true punk spirit – which is to say they operate entirely on their own terms, not relying on the tropes of the genre. Composed of Al Montfort & Amy Hill and Xanthe Waite & Zephyr Pavey, two couples embedded in the Melbourne indie scene, the band started in 2016 on the fiercely and knowingly naïve premise of wanting to play songs and travel the world as a group of friends. Now back for their fourth album, they seem to be doing pretty well at it.

New single ‘Gronks’ is passable as a signature Terry stomp, with simple rhymes slipping through broad, bright melodies and pounding drums. The band’s playfulness is on show here with gratuitous pans and elemental synth arpeggios. In its finer details, however, there are suggestions of a subtle evolution in the band’s sound and approach. The backwards-sounding intro brings the song into focus through the discordant saxophone drones that featured so heavily on the album by Chateau, Al Montfort’s 2021 collaboration with Alex Macfarlane. This willingness to experiment within clear punk frameworks is affirming evidence that there is room to be inventive without the stuffiness of technical virtuosity.

Meanwhile, the band’s lyrics move on from the literalness of earlier recordings to find surreal abstraction in individual words. Though each word conjures a clear image, the whole is confused: “See the ships, ripping through the dips”. Montfort’s comments on the song suggest that these oblique appearances reflect the troubled strangeness of contemporary Australian politics. “Gronks is a song about opportune wealth grabs, neo-imperialism and entrenched colonialism. Twiggy Forrest, Gina Rinheirt, the ghost of Macquarie, Flinders and Cook all sailing up the Parramatta River.”

None of this is to say that you should check your joy at the song’s major-key melodies and smiling delivery. Terry is successful in its defiance because of its insistence on a happy existence. In the face of a beleaguering political climate, we need Terry and their willingness to respond with uplifting, free-spirited music, waving sarcastically to the enemy with childish refrain, “greet me from the banks, you gronks”.