Australia’s musical legacy may not be remembered for its throwaway musical acts of years gone by like Men Down Under. But perhaps these last few years may be looked back on as a golden era for Australian music, spearheaded by the likes of Tame Impala and Courtney Barnett and forever emboldened with rising newcomers such as The Nagging Doubts.
The Nagging Doubts were still at high school in Sydney when they released their debut EP Deug Lane in 2019. Now, stepping into a darkly simmering, glittering, punchy post-punk and ambient direction, the band have released their new EP Autocalm alongside a two-part focus single, which has a place close to their hearts: “Through a Glass Darkly (Pt. I & II).”
The single has been a staple of the band’s live sets over the last few years. Born on the acoustic guitar during a road trip down Australia’s East Coast, the song has seen numerous reiterations and developments, finally coming to land in these two coherent installments on their new EP.
“Pt. I” channels distinct tinges of English singer/songwriters Billy Bragg and Martin Newell — otherwise known as “The Jangling Man” — with its forefronted acoustics and clean-cut vocals. The introduction of electric guitars infuses the track with a more modern aura, calling on Aussie contemporaries like Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever with its upbeat, Kiss Me-era Cure vibes.
Continuing in the same key with a slightly slower pace, swirling synth lines warp you in to “Pt. II” before a post-punk march of wailing guitars and laconic lyrics take charge in this anthemic offering: “Morning comes / And you’re left to pick up all of your thoughts… / With a coffee for company / And an empty heart.”
Coming together to create a juxtaposition of hope and despair, The Nagging Doubts further symbolize with “Through a Glass Darkly (Pt. I & II)” that right now may be Australia’s golden era for contemporary music. If they continue in this vein, there’ll surely be no nagging doubts tugging at the band’s chances of future success down under and beyond.