Perhaps best known as the frontwoman of Melbourne, Australia-based electro pop act Tantrums, Jess McInally has spent the better part of the past decade as a touring and session musician with stints in Jess Cornelius’ recording project Teeth and Tongue and Jess Ribiero’s backing band; but towards the end of 2015, some of her dearest friends had encouraged McInally that it was time for her to write her own material and front another band. “I’m a songwriter and it took me so long to realize that,” McInally said in press notes. “I need to be writing, because that’s how I feel good.” Using a loaner guitar from her friend Dan Kelly, McInally began writing the material that would comprise What The Fuck Was I Thinking, the debut EP for her newest project, Jade Imagine.
After recording a series of demos in her bedroom, McInally sent them to Dave Mudie, Courtney Barnett’s drummer, and as the story goes, not only did Mudie dig the material he received, he then recorded some drum tracks and helped to steer some pre-production of material. Encouraged by the development, McInally began recruiting a rotating series of backing band members and collaborations that primarily includes Liam “Snowy” Halliwell (bass), best known for his work with The Ocean Party and Ciggie Witch; Tim Harvey (production, guitar), best known for his work with Emma Louise and Real Feelings; and Jen Sholakis (drums), best known for her work with East Brunswick All Girls Choir and Jen Cloher, and the newly formed band spent the next six months recording the EP at Mudie’s house and DIY-based sessions in McInally’s bedroom. As McInally says of the recording sessions, “Whenever I record with Tim [Harvey], we have a little session beforehand and listen to songs from other bands and talk about what sounds we want. It’s all very measured with him. For instance, on the drums for ‘Walkin’ Around,’ Fleetwood Mac was a reference, but so was NEU! and that definitely doesn’t come through. With Dave [Mudie], it’s more like ‘lets throw some things at the wall and see what sticks’ in a good way.” And while reportedly drawing from mid 60s California beach and psych pop, The Church, T-Rex, Fleetwood Mac, The Triffids, and The Go-Betweens, What The Fuck Was I Thinking’s latest single “Walkin’ Around,” sonically reminds me renowned fellow countrymen Husky and Starsailor while nodding a bit at The Verve.
Directed by Clancy Walker, the recently released music video for “Walkin’ Around” reminds me quite a bit of the video for The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” as the video follows a focused Jade McInally walking around Melbourne with an intense and determined sense of purpose; in fact, she’s so purposeful, that she’s practically mowing people down on the sidewalk until towards the end, she finally meets up with her bandmates, who join her for the rest of their walk.