From Frankston with love: The Belair Lip Bombs are focused on the now

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From Frankston with love: The Belair Lip Bombs are focused on the now

Belair Lip Bombs
words by wil clifford

Released August 25th on Cousin Will Records, Lush Life comes four years after the indie quartet’s last EP. A lot’s happened since then.

“Going into my early 20s, coming out of Covid and having that whole experience has opened my perspective a little bit more,” said guitarist and vocalist Maisie Everett. “I wanted to write about things that were a little more true to myself.”

Written in 2021, the ten tracks that make up Lush Life tell the story of self-discovery, self-awareness and self-love, perfectly conveyed through the bouncy bass lines and impressive vocal harmonies.

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Named after a set of vintage Cali skate wheels, The Belair Lip Bombs were formed in 2017 by Everett and her high school friend, guitarist Mike Bradvica. The two were soon joined by Liam De Bruin on drums and eventually Jimmy Droughton on bass. Support positions for Tired Lion and British India early into their lifespan established them as one of Frankston’s most notable rising stars.

“For a little bit we were kind of the band that bigger bands would ask to open when they played in Frankston,” Everett said. “From there we got a couple other good opening slots closer to the city.”

A formidable self-titled EP in 2018 led to an East Coast tour and slot on that year’s Ninchfest lineup. A year later and another EP down, the biggest challenge wasn’t attaining breakout success, but breaking into the Melbourne scene. 

“At the start, when we were, like, a ‘Frankston band’, I think it was harder for us to play local lineups in the city. Maybe I’m jaded, but there was a bit of a stigma or something around bands from the peninsula,” Everett expressed. “It felt like we were kind of isolated or didn’t fit in. I think that’s changed a lot in the last couple years where it’s a lot more inclusive.”

It was around this time that Everett took on bass duties for Melbourne punk act CLAMM, joining them on Australian and European tours as well as playing on their acclaimed sophomore record Care. It’s here that Everett first met Nao Anzai, Lush Life’s mixer and masterer.

“[Care] was just awesome, that’s what made us want to do the Lip Bombs album with him. He’s just so easy to work with,” said Everett. “He gives suggestions, when he does he’s not invasive or anything. He’s just great, he’s a wizard basically.”

Lush Life explores themes of escapism and self-discovery, combining catchy indie riffs with contemplative lyrics. Droughton’s bass lines weave through the progressions, pairing well alongside Everett’s emotionally powerful vocal harmonies. Its fourth track, Stay Or Go, exemplifies the album’s contents perfectly; rhythmic pulses of guitar lock in an unbridled bass riff, lathered in words of uncertainty and longing.

“I tried the woeful idleness / I tried the drugs, oh how I miss / Is the lush life just a big abyss? / Is it a gold mine? Or just the same as this?”  – a real ‘crying in the club’ moment.

Things That You Did showcases De Bruin’s emotive drumming, purposefully reserved and patiently articulate. The track also features Floodlights trumpeter Sarah Hellyer: the Lip Bombs’ first-ever guest on a track. 

“We didn’t really know what we wanted her to do, we just knew the specific songs that we wanted her to play on,” explained Everett. “She kind of just tried a few different things and we put it all together and it turned out really cool.”

Everett’s vocals are a persistent highlight on Lush Life, building huge harmonies in the mix, notably on the cruisy Easy On The Heart. It’s no surprise that some of the vocal sessions lasted as long as 15 hours, with the singers striving for nothing less than perfection.

“I had a strong idea in my head of how I wanted them to come across and I just wanted to match that exactly,” she said. “I know a lot of bands, it’s like one take and it’s done, that works really well a lot of the time. I’m kind of stubborn when it comes to that stuff so we were in there for days on end but I’m happy with how it turned out.”

Lush Life has this infectious charm to it that isn’t easy to replicate. Thoughtfully written, delightfully hooky and lovingly put together, the Belair Lip Bombs have achieved a debut that many bands can only dream of. They have an exciting future ahead of them, but Everett won’t get caught up in the daydreaming.

“I feel like I think about that stuff a lot, I think about where we’re gonna end up, but I feel like there’s no use in trying to predict what’s gonna happen. At the moment we’re just focusing on the present and working as hard as we can right now to take whatever opportunities come.”

To keep up with the Belair Lip Bombs, head here.