Peter Bibby is a rising and critically applauded Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started his career when he turned 19, quitting the job he had at the time to busk, eventually landing a few paying gigs. Sometime later, Bibby landed a high paying job that he eventually lost because he would show up hungover from the gigs he’d play the night before. So, he wound up playing even more gigs with a series of different backing bands including Frozen Ocean, Fucking Teeth and Bottles of Confidence while developing a unique, rough and tumble sound and approach — one that many have described as being like Shane McGowan screaming at bleeding laudanum and typhoid hallucinations while his guitar playing with his guitar playing like a dog drunk on rum.
With the release of his first two album’s 2014’s Butcher/Hairstylist/Beautician and 2018’s Grand Champion, Bibby has also been championed as an inherently working-class and wholeheartedly independent artist, commemorated in the 2018 documentary Chasing Palm Springs, which followed Bibby on a cross-country trip from Perth to Melbourne in a temperamental van. Along with that, the Fremantle-based artist has begun building up a growing profile as a must-see act as a result of rowdy and raucous live set through headlining shows and stops across the international festival circuit — particularly with stops at Laneway, Falls and SXSW.
Interestingly, today marks the release of Bibby’s first bit of new material since Grand Champion, his latest single “Oceans,” features his latest backing band, the rowdy and disorderly Dog Act, “Strawberry Pete” Gower (bass) and “Dirty Dave” Taylor (drums) — and the track is a wobbly, boozy and disorderly take on garage rock that’s full of spittle, fury and howled invective, fuzzy and lurching power chords, thunderous drumming and drunken shout worthy choruses that to my ears reminds me a little bit of Johnny Thunders’ “Born to Lose,” John Cale’s “Pablo Picasso” and others — but much more unhinged.
“‘Oceans’ started out as a little sea shanty-esque poem scrawled on a piece of paper about going mad in the middle of the ocean. With the help of the Dog Act it soon morphed into a fairly raucous tune,” Bibby explains. “I used vibrato on the guitars to give it a wobbly seasick kind of sound, and we had some mates join us in the studio to sing along and clink beers together in the final chorus to give it the vibe of a pack of people getting drunk on a boat. As far as I recall, it is the only song I have written about losing one’s mind out at sea.”
Directed and shot by Duncan Wright, Luna Laure and Rhys Jones, the recently released video was shot around Fremantle and features Duncan as a shabbily dressed merman, a fisherman, a loutish, local drunkard and a drowning man — and each of those characters in one way or another is slowly going mad. It’s a dizzying and lysergic fever dream seemingly inspired by way copious amounts of booze, despair, loneliness and seasickness. “The video was shot around Fremantle over a weekend by Duncan Wright , Luna Laure and Rhys Jones who came up with the whole idea in no time flat after COVID-19 put holes in our original plan,” Bibby says of the video. “I got to pretend I was a poorly dressed mermaid, a wharfy, a fisherman and a drowning guy as well as have a pretty damn good time doing it. I got a lot of seawater in my mouth for this video, but as we say in the game you have to suffer for the art. This is my second video featuring work overalls.”