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Northeast Party House On New Album 'Enhancer': 'Like Blur & Bloc Party Had Some Frankenstein Baby'

17 May 2024 | 2:17 pm | Mary Varvaris

To celebrate the release of 'Enhancer', Northeast Party House vocalist Zach Hamilton-Reeves takes Purple Sneakers through the album track-by-track.

Northeast Party House

Northeast Party House (Source: Supplied)

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Today isn’t only new album day for Billie Eilish, it’s the day that Melbourne/Naarm alternative electronic collective Northeast Party House drop their fourth album, Enhancer. To celebrate the release, vocalist Zach Hamilton-Reeves has taken Purple Sneakers through the album track-by-track.

For Enhancer, Hamilton-Reeves is once again accompanied by keyboardist Sean Kenihan, guitarist Jack Shoe, bassist Oliver Packard and drummer Malcolm Besley for an album that focuses on electronic music drenched in the spirit of 2000’s indie sleaze.

Since their beginnings forged in Melbourne, Northeast Party House have been a party band; their reputation solidified by their boisterous live shows and via their studio albums, 2014’s Any Given Weekend, 2016’s Dare, and 2020’s Shelf Life. Northeast Party House now expands that reputation with their new album, your own personal mood and vibe enhancer.

This is Northeast Party House’s journey to create Enhancer, as told by Zach Hamilton-Reeves.

Northeast Party House – Enhancer track-by-track

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Wish We Could


I wrote the core of Wish We Could around an unwanted break in a new relationship. I was living by myself in a one-bedroom apartment at the beginning of COVID-19, and it meant that I’d lost access to my partner and her sharehouse, too - a space that had become my social hub. I was feeling pretty low. I was playing with a talk box style of effect to create chords with my voice. The chords felt so emotive to me, which I guess is why the vocal hook came so easily. After that, I chucked the rough D'n'B loop over the top of it all, and the rest of the demo just flowed from there.

Dark Boy


Lyrically, Dark Boy is a snapshot of my experience growing up in Australia as a black person. It’s a memory reflected upon in a positive light - looking back, I feel like I’ve managed to build a really beautiful community around me, but I grew up in a predominantly white area, and despite having a bunch of friends, I felt really isolated and alone sometimes. For me, this track is a celebration of personal growth and how, with time, one’s personal differences can become strengths instead of weaknesses. 

Burnouts In My Head


I love driving (I'm not a massive car person), but I find it meditative and relaxing—particularly on longer solo trips. I’ve noticed this coming up more and more when I’m looking for lyrics and had been trying to think of a concept that incorporated this subtlety.

“Doing burnouts in my head” refers to someone leaving a strong impression after a date, where you find yourself playing the encounter over and over in your mind. It wasn’t written about anyone specifically, but it was really fun getting back into that head space and sharing / reliving some moments from the past or augmenting moments in our lives. 

Because we seemed to be on the same page from the start, Sean and I were able to explore and approach vocals, instrumentation, and production in a different way from how we would previously. Sean and I were both really focused on bringing different grooves and influences to this album—for Burnouts In My Head, that meant exploring different beats and more current references, lots of R&B, moments of hip hop, etc.  

On And On


On And On was a demo that was written for Shelf Life pre-2020. We wrote hundreds of demos for Shelf Life, and this was one that always felt like it had promise but hadn’t been harnessed properly. Conceptually, it’s about treating a lover the way we used to treat songs on the radio. The classic story of a child waiting for their favourite song to come on so they could record it and listen to it over and over. 

Instrumentally, it was a throwback to the early 2000s era of indie dance. It hasn’t changed much from the original demo, so this one was more about improving the sounds and exploring what it was asking for—workshopping lyrics and trying to tame the lead line in the chorus without losing its edge. 



Vicious was an older demo from the Shelf Life era. It’s about a relationship turning toxic - when the communication goes from loving and positive to ugly and negative. I loved the idea of being on the edge of saying something vicious that you would regret but never saying what it was in the song. 

The song was originally written during some hard times in a previous relationship. I remember playing for her and she broke down in tears. 

For this song, we were split between this more updated version and a previous version—up until the very end. Because of this, it was one of the harder songs to finish. We ended up taking the middle eight from the previous Vicious and combining it with the new. 

Why? (Vicious Cont.)


One of our main priorities for this album process was to have fun… The sketch of Why? was initially written as the outro in the original Vicious demo. Sean and I rediscovered the outro when we were reworking Vicious. My memory of it was Sean turning around to look at me, laughing and saying, “This is good.” We fell in love with it, and it is now one of the band’s favourite tracks on the record.

My Friends 


My Friends is an ode to your friends, the ones who stick around for you no matter what. For me, this was specifically about my little group crew throughout COVID-19. Particularly naughty, always up for a good time but always there in the ‘clutch’. It was less about a specific moment and more about me reflecting on that time with a big smile on my face. An ode to them and the feeling I get when I think about them. 

Moving this one from a demo to a finished production was particularly tricky for me. I was really attached to the demo to the point where I had to step away from it in order to let it grow. Sean took over the finishing of the song, trimming it down into a more typical structure and finalizing sounds. I love the way we’re able to balance the energetic, shouty, borderline rap vocals and sweet, euphoric vocals across the chorus. 

Interlude (Chicken Dinner)


“So, during Shelf Life, we all wrote a bunch of demos, and by a bunch, I mean hundreds. I usually had little success with my demos getting past the band, as they often were a little bit left of centre and strange, not the sort of tracks that usually get picked up as potential singles. At one listening party, I played the band ‘OH YEAH SHIT SONG’, not thinking it would resonate, but surprisingly Zach really was into it. He sang over it, and there you have it!” - Oli

When Oli sent through Oh Yeah, I loved it and immediately had this idea wash over me. I recorded a freestyle, cut it up from memory, and pasted it over the song where it made sense. It was about my love of a chicken dinner and how delicious it was. I’d just gone vegetarian, and the only meat craving I was having was for chicken. 

At the time, our friendship group was all saying “miante” instead of ‘mint’ or ‘sick’ or ‘fire,’ so it felt right to say chicken miante. When I shared it with everyone, we were all into it but never felt like we could release it… 



Writing this song is one of my most special memories of being in the band. It’s one of the few songs actually written by the whole band in a room. It was in our old studio in the warehouse district of Preston. We’d all come together to write, and we started working on a super rough Ableton sketch that I had. It quickly evolved into one of the most effortless and fun sessions I’ve had in the band. It didn’t matter what we traditionally did: sing, guitar, bass, or cowbell… everyone was making vocal melodies, everyone was making weird production sounds to chuck in, and no idea was seen as a bad idea.

There was a real flow and fun that resonated within us. Like My Friends, it was a really difficult song to evolve. The demo had such joy and energy attached to it that it felt scary to further it in case it lost some of that magic from that day. We managed to do it and narrowed it down to the L.A narrative that has always been at the core but felt a little bad to write—another song about L.A.

Brain Freeze


Brain Freeze existed for a long time as a demo before finally finding itself this year. The original idea was written in 2017, well before most songs from SHELF LIFE were written, so it’s been brewing for a while. We have always loved how the demo combined this 90s guitar riff with an aggressive dance beat. It sounded like Blur and Bloc Party had some Frankenstein baby.

When we were working on Brain Freeze, it was all about saying yes to every idea and staying in the fun, rough, creative ‘writing phase’ for as long as possible before thinking about honing in on an idea or giving any constructive criticism. We kept Brain Freeze intentionally simple, excited by the idea of leaving room to dance and breathe as your head is spinning around.



As Sean and I were finishing this record, it became clear that we were missing a song like Enhancer. The album was begging for something that could live in a DJ set or bring it home at the end of the festival. 

Sean had built a 30-minute dance jam and started cutting it up. I felt like this could potentially be a continuation of a song like Shelf Life or Lose Control, so I started trying simple vocal ideas and playing with vocal fx. 

We both wanted the song to be called Enhancer, and so every vocal written was initially sung as Enhancer. The instrumentation is the real hero of this song, as is usually the case with dance music.

Enhancer is out now via Sony Music Australia.