We’re glad to announce that Townsville, Australia-based alternative/indie rock band Poison Oak are set to release a new single, entitled “Losing Ourselves,” on September 10th.
Hailing from North Queensland, Poison Oak bring a sound combining both melancholy and uplifting Australian rock ‘n’ roll that features catchy melodies, hard-hitting riffs, and somber ballads matched with lyrics about the misgivings of everyday life.
Poison Oak is James Balthes, Russell West, Ray Pearson and Chris Reiterer. Balthes and West worked as high school teachers at the same school in Townsville, and soon became friends. Both had also played in other bands throughout Australia: Balthes having played in Dunes, Jeremiah Hunter & The Preachermen, and Bacchanales, and West having played in Kitty in the Well. Also, both knew Pearson as a mutual friend, so the three began jamming and playing throughout mid-2019.
The band soon began to take form after Balthes brought melodic piano ballads and songs with catchy rock riffs for the group to play. Meeting through mutual friends, Grant Miles joined and brought a dynamic, hard-hitting drumming style to the group, but soon left for family commitments. Chris Reiterer later joined, and after an extended break, he returned to playing drums two years ago with Townsville band The Littmus Steampunk Band. However, he subsequently reconnected with Balthes and West in 2019, jamming and playing at a local teachers’ battle of the bands, and joined Poison Oak in 2020. Since then, Poison Oak has been writing and releasing new material during the pandemic, receiving radio and media attention around the globe along the way.
“Start Again” was the band’s debut single, a song about starting again after going through emotional upheaval, and lightly suggesting that pain brings out the best motivation. The song was reviewed favorably by Triple J, and soon the band released their next single, “Feeling Numb On Sundays.” An anthemic indie rock song, the track reflects the working-class style of the band, featuring powerful build-ups and breakdowns while also including straight up rock ‘n’ roll riffs. During its release, “Feeling Numb On Sundays” received superb reviews from Triple J as well as international radio attention, and was added to many curators’ playlists around the world.
Following these well-received singles, the band released their debut three track EP, The Living Room Sessions, which received great reviews on the Triple J Roots and All show as well as on Triple J’s Home and Hosed, also gaining media attention around the globe and selected for FV Music Blog’s hottest finds of the week. In October, Poison Oak released their first single, “Waiting,” from their sophomore EP entitled 1996. “Waiting” received multiple features and reviews in magazines throughout Australia and around the globe, including Happy Magazine; and the track received excellent reviews from such media outlets as Amnplify, Tone Def Sounds, Other Side Reviews, and The Sounds Won’t Stop, as well as being placed on multiple playlists throughout the world.
Poison Oak then released the second single from their 1996 EP, “Sarah,” (for which you can read our review here) in February. The track secured the band further community radio play throughout Australia and a string of positive blog and magazine reviews (such as from Triple J and Amplify Magazine)–as well as scoring rotation on international radio stations including Lopsided World of L. And in March, the band released 1996 (for which you can read our review here), garnering excellent reviews from Triple J and Happy Magazine. With the EP gaining praise from radio stations and magazines all around the world, the band also played a series of shows in their local home of Townsville.
Poison Oak are now getting ready to release their new single “Losing Ourselves,” the first installment of their third EP. The track shows Poison Oak going in a slightly different direction while still keeping their Aussie Rock roots, presenting their sound as more refined and developed, and ultimately showcasing the band as a song writing powerhouse. “Losing Ourselves” is a track about forgetting trends that sometimes dictate the way we live or how we grow up. It’s about growing into yourself doing the things and hobbies that you like, despite what anyone thinks.
Describing the inspiration and songwriting process behind “Losing Ourselves,” James says:
“I had the introduction riff for a while, and I originally was playing it in the key of A, rather than E. I sort of it called my Smashing Pumpkins/Silversun Pickups riff, as it used the open E strings while going back and forth from maj 7 th note to the tonic. Which is pretty common among those bands. Then one morning, after going out with some friends, I wrote the song based off the feeling I got from the night. Where I didn’t really care about, ‘what I should be doing,’ and ‘where I should go’ and basically ‘what people think about me.’ Letting go I guess of all common things we do sometimes to try fit into society, like wanting to take pictures for social media etc, to make yourself like you have a ‘fun life’ or whatever. After that night, it made me realise that I don’t need to waste my time doing things that I have no interest in. Basically, summing up what you go through when you’re growing into adult, and I just don’t have time to care about things that don’t matter to me. I pretty much sat and wrote the song out in an hour. When we went to record it, (Mark, producer – Middle East), would try and keep to the melody line as close as possible, being quite technical when doing the vocals. However, Ray would pipe up from the background regularly, ‘make sure it has character, make sure you keep it sexy’”
“Losing Ourselves” begins with a pensive, reverb-laden guitar melody, which is soon complemented by the track’s melancholic lyrics and steady percussion. As the bass notes join in during another verse, the track locks into a catchy groove, leading nicely into an energetic chorus with powerfully compelling vocals. A bridge section towards the end of the track later builds “Losing Ourselves” up nicely to a final chorus, and the track concludes with the wistful reverbed guitar melody heard at its beginning. “Losing Ourselves” is quite an enjoyable listen, once again highlighting Poison Oak’s superb musicianship and their penchant for impressive song writing; I would highly recommend this track to fans of alternative- and indie rock alike.
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