Wildcat General Strike is Melbourne man Paul Connor and Codswallop is the second EP. Self-produced and brimming with off-centre energy, Codswallop is an interesting document for an artist just beginning his career.
New single, “The Truth About Music”, works exceptionally well as an opener – kicking things off with momentum. The overarching guitar riff is given prominence throughout as Connor puts on a Northern England drawl to deglamourise the role of music in our lives. The song is propelled forward by layers of guitar and distortion which reappear regularly in later songs.
The first touch of Bowie eccentricity comes through on the very brief Schadenfraude. Despite its length, it features perhaps the best chorus on the EP and its wonder why Connor didn’t pursue it further. Having said that it does work exceedingly well as a lead into “High School Diploma”. This song has already got some love through triple j Unearthed and it’s not hard to see why. It’s spacious, bass-heavy verse gives way to a fuzzed-out chorus that is hard to resist. It is the standout track in terms of accessibility, even managing to incorporate some beneficial 80s-style guitar wankery in its final moments.
The constant use of the clean opening to guitar-overload becomes a little grating by fourth track, “Throw Me A Bone”. It would be nice to hear a further exploration of the strange-funk that underpins the track without being bombarded by guitar at some point. “Throw Me A Bone” does highlight the oddball lines that Connor drops into his lyrics and on repeated listens to the EP it becomes clear that there is more weight to this release than it would seem on surface level.
Codswallop closes with “The World Is An OK Place”; and if “The Truth About Music” was a great opener, well then this is a near-perfect final track. While Connor has been guardedly pessimistic for much of the EP, he cautiously opens up for a track that comes close to celebratory. The layers of instrumentation are still there but this time the guitar work settles back into the mix and allows Connor to deliver a very cool piece of retro glam.
It’s hard to pin down the intentions of the enigmatic Paul Connor. If his amateur but oddly-effective videos for “The Truth About Music” and “High School Diploma” are anything to go by, he will be happy to achieve local fame on an eccentric mix of rocking tunes and weirdo-wit. However for someone this talented there is room for him to break structure and further explore the musical and lyrical themes he touches on with Codswallop.