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Unbroken Expanse Are GO! With New Single Release

Words by Steve Kelk | Images by Nico Liengme (live shots), Brooke McKeon (black & white); Promo images supplied

Tennant Creek four-piece Unbroken Expanse drop their new single today, ‘Go‘, a catchy track the band hopes will stick in the mind of listeners and becomes synonymous with their brand and life philosophy.

We at Foldback Magazine can well remember every time we have been lucky enough to catch an Unbroken Expanse gig, whether it was in Darwin or Alice Springs. They are always memorable for several reasons, we suggest: firstly – a decent hard rock band from Tennant Creek? WTF?? Really? Who knew?? We think that at first, some people are skeptical that anything this good could come out of a small town literally in the middle of the desert and hundreds of kilometres from anywhere that is also hundreds of kilometres from anywhere else – but this is flawed, and perhaps even bigoted thinking.

The thing is, there is a thriving music scene in the NT bush (and that includes the desert in Central Australia) and it is the hard work and determination of talented Territorians like Wheezy, Parko, Jimmy James and Jason of Unbroken Expanse (aka UBX) that make it so. There are dozens of remote area bands and solo artists in the NT, from South East Desert Metal from Santa Teresa Indigenous community near Alice Springs, to Black Rock Band from the West Arnhem region of the Top End and everywhere in between. The Territory punches above its weight in music and the NT scene is great perhaps because of, rather than in spite of, the remoteness and sparse population. Our mob must try even harder for recognition in the wider sphere.

It is a fact of life however that many remote bands won’t be able to bring their good vibes to the rest of the world unless they relocate to where those opportunities exist – in the case of UBX, that move was made to Melbourne some time ago and it has taken a while for the band to settle in and start producing work again. Now that they are all settled, things are definitely starting to happen. Despite the move however, UBX are all fiercely loyal Territorians and will always consider themselves to be a Tennant Creek band despite geography.

Another reason that a UBX gig is so remarkable and memorable is that they are just fucking good at what they do, and they look good doing it. Personalities abound in this hard rock quartet and, along with raw talent, makes the band very easy to watch and even easier to listen to. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Wheezy oozes charisma – we were told by one female fan a while ago that every time Wheezy walks on stage, all the women in the room ovulate. Even yer grandma. Bassist Parko, well he is just Parko, a James Dean-esque groover with moves that will make you wonder if he really is playing along with the rest of the band (he is). He is more Dean Martin than Jerry Lewis, although the latter could have learned a bit from Parko as to how to entertain a crowd. Beating the shit out of the kit is Jason the Viking – nuff said; and leading the guitar licks is Jimmy James, who arrived from Thailand many years ago to work on a cattle station near Tennant Creek but with music on his mind and managed to fall in with this mob – destiny fulfilled, culture-shock intensified.

“We just wanted a big singalong to kick things off, that people are going to remember, get stuck in their head. An ear-worm, that’s what we were looking for, and I think we’ve got that with ‘Go’.”

Of the single itself, Wheezy knows UBX are on a winner with ‘Go‘. It has all the ingredients of a song that will stick in your head and will have a crowd singing along – anthemic, rousing and uplifting. If we were to describe ‘Go‘ like a vintner describes a wine, it would look like this: “A fruity little number with hints of The Ramones, a subdued mid-palate and a sweet-citrus finish that comes on with a rush. Best served chilled with amps turned up to eleven’. Says Wheezy:

“We just wanted a big singalong to kick things off, that people are going to remember, get stuck in their head. An ear-worm, that’s what we were looking for, and I think we’ve got that with ‘Go’.”

Wheezy has indicated that the song is meant to be inspirational, especially to young people today who have to navigate an increasingly complex world: “During the writing of ‘Go’, my partner, Jess, was days away from giving birth to our son, Elvis. His impending arrival made me think more and more about how his generation will need to connect with each other more than any generation before it…the song is a message to him, and to all of us, to maintain a progressive, positive view of the world as often as we can. To move forward. To ‘Go’.”

Unbroken Expanse are serious musicians but with an easy-going attitude, perhaps born of the bush. Whilst a lot of bands’ strength lies in their shared ‘image’ or stage persona, UBX‘s strength, we feel, is the members’ individuality. They don’t dress the same, they don’t look the same. They are the sum of their parts, rather than a groupthink whole. Some bands will tout, either expressly or implicitly, that they are ‘non-conformist’, yet they simply conform to an established sub-culture. Not so with UBX. Zero fucks are given to conformity, and that is refreshing. The one thing they do conform on is they love hard rock and they love putting on a show.

The band has been busy playing some gigs around Melbourne and establishing a new fanbase in that location. Now that they have got their momentum back, Unbroken Expanse are looking forward to 2020 with a view to playing some interstate gigs and getting back to the Territory at some stage – Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Darwin are in their sights, and perhaps some further recordings are in the pipeline too – Wheezy has indicated that the band has a lot of content and a lot of ‘movement’ planned for next year. We certainly hope so.

Go‘ is now available for streaming and download on most digital platforms – you can have a listen to ‘Go‘ as well as Unbroken Expanse‘s first and self-titled EP at this Spotify link:

You can watch the super-cool music vid for ‘Go‘ below:

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