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Tequila Mockinbyrd work hard and play even harder. The Melbourne trio’s debut album Fight and Flight is 13 tracks of melodic punk rock that packs a punch with its honest lyrics, energetic riffs, and anthemic choruses.

Over the past three years, lead vocalist and guitarist Estelle Artois, bassist Jess Reily and drummer Josie O’Toole have toured relentlessly; helping to define their sound. With plenty of punk sensibility and refreshing honesty, Tequila Mockinbyrd tells it like it is – they do take their name from a cocktail after all.

Opening with a thundering bassline and Estelle’s furious screams, ‘I Smell Rock N Roll’ sets the tone for the album with its crunching riffs and massive chorus. There is also a cowbell thrown in for fun. Estelle has a powerful and guttural voice that explodes from deep inside her, but the vocals are never drowned out by the instruments. Her band mates’ backing vocals add a soft touch at the right moments.

‘Never Go home’ is an ode to the trio’s love for partying, with strong drumming and more raucous guitars, while ‘Catalyst’ slowly builds the momentum and explores the difficulties in finding your own path. ‘Half of the Man’ begins with a jolting chorus that contrasts brilliantly with twangy guitars in the verse. Lyrically, the track details a lacklustre encounter with a man as the protagonist calls him out on his sleazy moves. The gang vocals and bold drumming help to send the message home.

‘So Not Me’ kicks up the energy level even further, before the stripped back ‘This Ain’t Dead’. The isolation of Estelle’s vocals, minimal drumming, and the bass creep slowly towards a chanting chorus. It is unusual to include a cover on an album of original work; but Tequila Mockinbyrd doesn’t follow the rules. Their cover of The Ramones’ ‘Somebody Put Something In My Drink’ flows so smoothly and sounds like a track of their own.

‘Jagerbomb’ continues the drinking theme and playful lyrics match the classic blues rhythm in the plodding bass. ‘Shut Me Down’ is the band’s response to their first ever gig where they defied expectations and showed the crowd just how much damage they could do. Ending with ‘Good Time’, there is yet more of those contagious hooks and screeching guitar solos.

Despite there being few surprises along the way, the trio showcase their incredible musicianship, fierce personalities and no bullshit attitude on Fight and Flight. This debut is skilfully written and executed with no shortage of in-your-face and abrasive rock anthems.

Fight and Flight is available from May 20.

Rating: 4/5

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