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Live Review: Jasmine scents the air and Surprise Chef fills our ears with second album Daylight Savings

2 November 2020 | 1:45 pm | Hannah Galvin

Melbourne quartet Surprise Chef flex incredible artistry in their second self-recorded, funked-up jazz odyssey Daylight Savings.

Fitting stairwells and bathrooms with instruments of the percussive, keys and guitar varieties, the acclaimed College of Knowledge home studio occupied the creative junction that is Melbourne jazz-funk four piece Surprise Chef.

Having birthed such a project in this way previously, the result exists as their second record Daylight Savings - a 10-track banquet that was written by each member collaboratively, with heavy focus on the rhythm section, and is described by the guys as "a celebration of friendship and the joyful times we have making music together".

Having wooed us already with the 2019 debut All News Is Good NewsSurprise Chef's Daylight Savings definitely compares as something with just that bit more bite; as if its the requested cracked pepper that you hail the waiter down for to season your already delectable meal at that restaurant that everyone is raving about.

Packed with clever analogue instrumentation and conceptual colours, Surprise Chef's Daylight Savings offers a refreshing twist to antiquated processes, relinquishing uniqueness to its own technicality.

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The most delightful of mail days comes with a chamber of distant chirps, as a colony of birds echo their dawn harp to make their presence known to our early risers. This choral fleet soundtracks the delivery of Spring, as 'College Welcome' ungrips the tongue of the envelope from our warm invitation of initiation into the Daylight Savings ceremony.

Revisiting the record's leading single 'Deadlines' and 'New Ferrari' from yestermonths, formation takes off as we edge deeper into a very rich and invigorating second album from the Melbourne quartet.

Taking view from within the confines of a spherical front-loader, soapy percussive suds mound the glass window before us, as we rotate in unison with the steady cycle of renewal. Propelling subtle force as a means to remove all grime and dirt, we tumble faster before a rich spin properly rejuvenates us to conclude 'Washing Day'.

Now, we know that the school of Surprise Chef comes in the form of the College of Knowledge - the jasmine lined humble abode nestled within the cosy Melbourne suburb of Coburg. Boasting huge entrances for spectacular sentiments, the wealth of braintrust skyrockets in value when the 'College Welcomes Carl' - the rhythmic groove that carefully undertones each and every track that Surprise Chef casts on your ears. Slowly peeling the curtain with great melodic suspense, Carl eventually creeps in alongside his peers with his artistry, contributing to the service of composition and cognition that each present student receives. That is until the entire arrangement haemorrhages in catastrophic excitement.

Almost like walking through a swamp, trudging through a head cold with body aches and a rapidly diminishing energy bar will leave you begging for just one thoughtless moment of respite. 'Sick Day' paints the sensory display of all the slime and snot that comes with feeling icky; through a green and gooey organ and the harsh, dry sore throat of an irritated guitar sequence. When putting it on, these symptoms are all equally as viable when cheekily fretting to the boss man in order to get that elongated day off in exchange for an arvo of Summery delight.

Abridging some seriously high energy through the tenacity of sharp, metallic percussive phrasing and cheerily wobbly guitar melodies before the heroic, frenetic drumming peaks the climb of 'Leave It, Don't Take It', evening soon paves way as 'The Limp' casts formidable moon shadow with wide eyes and a sluggish pace; gently tucking us in with the forehead kiss of a heavy bassline, rigid wooden barrel scrapes and the subtle purr of Daylight Savings' softening finale.

Daylight Savings is the second album from Surprise Chef, and is available for stream and purchase now via College of Knowledge Records.

Words by Hannah Galvin.

Photo credit: Izzie Austin / Finn Rees aka Piewack