Reviewed by Mark Plummer

Usually, when a band offers up a ‘comeback’ release, it’s fraught with disaster and a lot of questions. It’s with a happy heart then, that Role Model is as far flung from this paradox as can be; so far as to suggest that time apart has done nothing but make them stronger, breathing fresh air into this machine.

First up, the production feels a lot more slick; whilst their previous works always held a lot of musical quality, they felt treble heavy, and at times, overly compressed. Where Role Model succeeds then, is by providing a greater listening experience just from a production point of view. Moving onto the music, and the bass rich opening of Petty Problems carries a lot of vitality, so much so, that it creates the notion of a band who have a real purpose in being back together and touring this release. The vocal work is more pronounced and shows a greater range of movement within each track. I’d even go as far as to say that in a world where auto-tune is almost standard, this is a rare occasion where there appears to be a lack of it, enough to really give these songs more emotion and character.

Moving on through Role Model, and the texture is abundant in rich and warm sounds; multiple layers of guitars are more clear and thought out than ever before, but the way they are all laid down is to create a release that seems to balance the rawness of a debut album, with the maturity of an older one. Some of the background vocals on My Mistakes could perhaps do with a little more airtime, instead sitting much further in the background than does them justice, but it’s a small mark on an otherwise strong track.

Fairytales has its pace firmly set in the blisteringly quick drums that lead the way for some very solid guitar work, offering up little licks here and there to keep things moving; it may be the standard sort of punk-rock track that you’d find on releases again and again, but in the context of this album, it adds more versatility before the more summer-time approach of Vessel, which in turn, is carried on through to Break This Feeling.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the punk bands that explode out of the States these days, but if ever there was an advert for a strong Aussie punk band to buck that trend, then Bodyjar are currently that band. They successfully make vast steps forward on previous material, whilst still managing to sound like a group of musicians who have made a natural progression between releases. Whilst the lack of cymbal sounds through the mix is a little disappointing, it’s too much of a pedantic comment to warrant a major complaint. This is, in all truthfulness, an awesome piece of work that deserves to be commemorated as a successful return to the music scene.

5 out of 5

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