Melbourne new-wave art-punks Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice emerged from the Oz underground as a potent force and clarion voice with their 2019 debut The West, followed by 2020’s fiery (pun intended) EPs, Scomo Goes to Hawaii and While Aus Burns. Their powerful new album, Remember the Future? is a 31-minute whammy of 10 propulsive robo-punk anthems which document the dystopian absurdity of our times, informed by an innate hopefulness and staunch belief in a better future.
Led by Dougal Shaw (also known as Marthouse label founder and guitarist for Cash Savage and the Last Drinks), Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice is a post-modern, post-punk, post-cynicism embodiment of Woody Guthrie’s folk polemic of “singing the news” — expounded by Bob Dylan, Public Enemy and countless successors, but rooted in the oldest musical traditions of recounting and pamphleteering historical events. As Dougal explains, his songwriting is lyrically “reacting to whatever’s dominating the news feed, it’s all catastrophes and conspiracies. I’m trying to make some sense out of it, or at least document it.” A potent act of “laughtivism”, the satirical edge of Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice cuts through Murdoch media manipulation, Canberra corruption, capitalist collapse and fossil fuel fuckery.
Bizzaro post-punk outfit Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice caps off a frenzied run of activity with its new LP Remember The Future? Vol. 1. + 2. Packed with off-beat instrumentation and on-point observational commentary, the record arrives at a time where the picture of our future has never been muddier.
Receiving bad news from the doctor is one of my biggest fears. The foreboding dread of awaiting test results is a kind of terror that I prefer not to think about, but in the case of the LP from Melbourne’s Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice, this is news I’m keen to hear – even if it’s a dire diagnosis.
Just under a year ago the talented four-piece (comprised of Miranda Holt on drums, Jake Suriano on bass, Jack Mccullagh on guitar, and Dr Sure himself – Dougal Shaw – on guitar and lead vocals) blessed the world with their debut LP The West, which wonderfully encapsulated the group’s style of off-the-wall dystopian robo-punk – a little bit absurd and a little bit surreal, but also a whole lot of fun.
The group’s got a knack for theatrics that serve to heighten the listening experience, with Dr Sure positioning himself at the centre of a buzzing maelstrom of nervy activity (wiry guitar noodling, abrasive buzz and experimental sonic flourishes), leaning fully into the oddball outsider aesthetic the Unusual Practice peddles.
This is dystopian punk for a society predicted to reach the grim precipice of collapse. Whether or not we tumble into the abyss, Dr Sure’s can’t say for sure – but you don’t need a doctorate to know that changes need to be made in order to survive. Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice is positioning itself as the “loose screw in this well-oiled machine”, rattling around to let us know that there’s a problem that needs investigating. Hopefully someone does before the idyllic future we all envision for ourselves becomes a fond memory of a time when hope existed.
Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice:
Dougal Shaw – Vocals, Guitar, Synth
Miranda Holt – Drums
Jack Mccullagh – Guitar, Vocals
Jake Suriano – Bass, Vocals
All songs written and produced by Dougal Shaw
Songs 1-6 recorded and mixed by Nao Anzai at Rolling Stock in May 2021
Songs 7-10 recorded by Max Ducker at Cellar Sessions Studio in Jan 2020
Songs 7-10 mixed by Dougal Shaw
All songs mastered by Joe Carra
Cover photography by Rick M Douglas
Art & Execution by Dougal Shaw
This record was written, recorded and produced on the land of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Kulin Nations. We acknowledge that this land was stolen and colonised, and sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Nations people. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
(Erste Theke Tontraeger)