Perth Power pop trio Rinehearts have released their debut album Can’t Do Nothing through Cheersquad Records & Tapes. With an overall sound best described as a cross between The Replacements and Reigning Sound, Rinehearts have been delivering catchy tunes since forming in 2016. Long-time friends Guitarist and Vocalist Ben Ward, bass player Mitch Long and drummer Ross Di Blasio’s raw sound and memorable melodies quickly gained the attention of U.K label No Front Teeth Records who put out the band’s first 7” EP Try Your Luck in December that same year.
Fast forward twelve months, and after trialling and refining new songs with local audiences, the band once again settled into Ross’ living room to record their debut album Can’t Do Nothing. The end result is eleven tracks that seamlessly bounce from one to the next, with distinct influences ranging from the sound of the latest single You Don’t Have To Lie, to 60’s Stems/ Byrds inspired numbers like Can’t Seem to Help Myself and Oneway Road to the undeniably captivating lead single and title track from the album Can’t Do Nothing. Ben Ward from the band answers some questions about making their debut album.
Are you feeling on top of the world have finished your debut album?
Yes! It’s been high spirits all round in camp Rinehearts. We are really pleased with the reaction we’re getting so far. There’s nothing quite like putting on your own record for the first time and digging it. It has got us itchy to record the second one already!
Did you feel that it challenged you?
It challenged us musically for sure. We put out a 7” EP leading up to this and learnt a lot from that process. We quickly worked out what works for us and what doesn’t. The challenges came along after the main parts of the songs (drums/guitar/bass) had been recorded. We decided to take our time adding layers.
We pushed ourselves during that period to come up with ideas that put us out of our comfort zone. For example, Ross writing and recording organ parts within a few weeks and myself having to write the lyrics when I’d been singing “blah-blah-blah” for months beforehand in some songs, it made me think and really focus on the lyrics alone, not lyrics and guitar in a loud practice room. I think that really makes the record what it is. We did it all completely DIY too, with the help of Dr Al Smith from Bergerk Studios. He’s an absolute lord when it comes to living room recording.
Did the recording experience go to plan?
The plan was pretty simple, clear out Ross’s living room, set up the gear, drink coffee and go for it. I would say it worked. We recorded as a band and tried to capture the energy and the feeling of the songs above all else. The vocals and other parts were all done afterwards at Bergerk Studios. It really was enjoyable and it’s exactly how we plan on doing the next one.
How did The Rinehearts get together?
Mitch, Ross and myself all went to high school together, me and Mitch played in a band (Screwtop Detonators) and Ross played in Snowman after we left school. Both bands wound up and ran their course. We caught up at a show in Perth, and at that stage I had some rough demos of some songs I’d been working on. I asked Mitch and Ross to have a beer and try a few tunes out, it worked, we were hooked and have been loving it ever since.
Do you still remember your first jam session?
Yeah I do, it was in Mitch’s dad’s shed. It was 42 degrees and we did more talking and drinking beers than playing music. We has no idea where we were going with it and didn’t care. It was great! I remember thinking “we need a band photo”, so I took one of us in the shed, Ross had no shirt on, and after seeing the photo, kindly asked me to delete it! but it’s out there somewhere haha. It was a good time.
Sonically, how would you describe the band?
Sonically I would say it’s a mixture of things. Part 60’s garage pop/rock and roll, part Indie rock. It’s guitar driven in parts, but not overdone.The melody and harmonies are there but not too sweet. The songs vary a lot on this album, so it’s not too pigeon holed, which in itself gives the album a well rounded sound and it has it’s own identity I think.
Is there a story behind the single You Don’t Have To Lie?
There certainly is and it’s a cliche as it gets! I had a girlfriend in high school, she cheated on me with a guy twice my size, the guy, in tern came up to me in front of all our friends and tried to fight me. He backed down when my friends came to my aid (luckily….).
Growing up in the hills of Perth as a short red head punk rock fiend certainly had it’s moments. It was all footy and burn outs for the most part and I didn’t see where I would fit in with that. That day was a really pivotal moment for me at such young age. I look back at it now, it’s those moments that make you realise who you are and what your willing to take. That’s the (extremely) literal description of the song. At this stage in my life, that very same feeling applies. It’s something that stayed with me and I wanted to write about it.
How important is band such as The Replacements to The Rinehearts?
There are many important bands to us, The Replacements is a name that kept coming up at the live shows, people were saying we sound like them. I think people are referring to the “Tim” era when they say that. Bands like the replacements are super important to us, they’ve gone from being an urgent punk rock band to singing some of the nicest songs you’ll ever hear. For me it comes down to the emotion and delivery of the music. Song’s like “Answering Machine” will always make me stop what I’m doing and smell the flowers. Bands like the replacements can transport you to another world when you need to go there.
Are there plans to tour more extensively?
Yep, it’s being spoken about that’s for sure. There’s a few thing’s were keeping under our hats coming up later in the year. We also been looking into heading to Europe next year. We’re saying yes to whatever comes our way really.
What’s next for The Rinehearts?
We’ve already got six to seven new songs we’re working on, so it won’t be long before we hit the studio again. Which is most exciting.. We’ve got two shows in WA and four shows in Melbourne coming up in June, so we’re setting our sights on that. The second half of the year is already looking really exciting too.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch the Rinehearts on the following tour dates and more info at the Rinehearts Facebook page…