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The Verge: Rat vs Possum

Welcome to The Verge: a column dedicated to music on the edge of a breakthrough. I spend a lot of column inches on bands and musicians from the UK but not nearly enough on artists from one of its former colonies.

Rat vs Possum is all about conflicting forces, from their name on down. The Australian act’s debut, Daughter of Sunshine, finds beauty in the chaos of juxtaposition. The seven songs are full of both hypnotic psychedelia and catchy pop. They click with electronic loops, but bounce along with acoustic melodies and vocal harmonies. And for all their complex layering, the lyrics are breathtakingly simple.

The album launches with a song that is prototypical of the entire effort. On “War,” a glitchy drum loop, simple chord progression, and dueling vocals bob and weave into a pastoral hymn: “I’ve been waiting for you to come home for so long / I’ve been waiting for you to come back, back from the war.” After meditating on the man-made, the band mixes the sounds of the jungle on an instrumental jam named just that.

As can be expected from an psych-art-pop collective, drugs just may be involved. “Pills” revolves around a sing-along of “I think I love you / but it just might be the pills.” Horns and keys sparkle during the breakdown, before things get confusing and the vocals start to collide like bad acid.

Rat vs Possum shows have involved copious amounts of glitter and bubble wrap. Hopefully they bring some of their art school magic stateside.