Standard Sounds

Preaching to the Choir with The Preatures

In March, Standard Culture had the pleasure of being a fly on the wall when Aussie band The Preatures came to New York as part of their first stateside jaunt. The band did a record signing at our Shop (which recently began selling a curated selection of vinyl) before ascending for a performance at The Top of The Standard. Hanging out with the band in their room overlooking the Manhattan skyline before the performance, the five-piece bantered like old friends, their conversation dotted with inside jokes, fake family feuds, and some phrases we simply couldn’t parse. Thankfully, they were nice enough to translate along the way, and even put together a helpful "Beginner’s Guide to Australian Slang" for us.

The Preatures consists of five members: four young guys and the captivating frontwoman, Isabella Manfredi. In person, ‘Izzi’ is everything you’d expect: sexy, sweet, smart, funny. The band was launched to prominence when her song ‘Is This How You Feel?’ won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition in 2013, subsequently racking up almost 7 million plays on Spotify and 2 million on YouTube.

“Do you miss hanging out with girls?” Standard Culture asked. “Yes! I went to Paris recently and hung out with these friends from Australia who were doing hair and makeup for the Chanel show. I couldn’t stop smiling because I was so happy to be around girls.” Manfredi was also seen on the front row of Chanel’s fashion shows in Paris. Can you say chic?

The guys are pretty cool, too. Jack Moffitt (guitarist), Thomas Champion (bassist), Gideon Bensen (guitarist), and Luke Davison (drummer) are all rockers with a penchant for long hair and photography. Thomas (known as Tom) took the album cover image and is often seen photographing the band.

Manfredi writes much of the band’s music and is adamant about the craft of classic songwriting. She said, “Pop, for us, is more of a disciple than a stylistic thing. I’m talking about Pop in relation to classic songwriting and learning how to write songs in a very basic way. Once you know the formula of a song, then you can really master it.”

This knack for tried and true songwriting is front and center on Preatures’ debut, Blue Planet Eyes — 10 sharp, impeccably crafted tunes. Some manifest the taut pop-rock of single ‘Is This How You Feel?’, while others are softer and simpler. The album was recorded during a three-week stretch with the producer and Spoon drummer Jim Eno, no stranger himself to classic songwriting.

Blue Planet Eyes on vinyl, available at The Standard Shop

At length the band adjourned to a sun-drenched Boom Boom Room for sound check. With its gold columns, mirrors, and ceiling, the room had a heavenly glow. With the city at their backs, the band ran through a few of the songs from the set they would perform that night to a packed house.

Before heading back to their respective rooms to rest before the performance, the band sat for a quick drink – a round of beers, but not 'tinnies' (Australian word for cans of cheap domestic beer).

Boom waitress: Does anyone need another beer?
Group: Ooohhh.
Tom: What time is it?
Waitress: 4pm
Jack: See now you're twisting the rubber arm!

The group chuckles, it's clear that indeed they do want another round.

The Preatures are on a two-month tour overseas and will continue shows in Australia until the end of May. See the schedule here.

Performance photography by Christos Katsiaouni.

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