The hobo-pop flagship that is Skipping Girl Vinegar is loaded to the gunnels with dysfunctional instruments and on course to play the Darwin Railway Club.
Hobo-pop (n.): melodic pop music with a rough edge supplied by those instruments generally regarded as good for nothing but the bin.
Enjoying glowing critiques, frequent festival bookings and extensive airplay – including a spot on Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight – the Melbourne five-piece are that rare species of band who manage to juggle popularity with integrity. Skipping Girl Vinegar seem intent on maintaining an undistracted focus on their artistic vision. “This is more than just about selling records or people giving you praise,” says frontman Mark Lang.
For Lang the process of music-making is the band’s focus. “By not just following suit and doing what everyone else is doing, you actually find something,” he says. “It’s taken all these crazy instruments to discover our own sound. It’s very much the thing that’s made Skipping Girl Vinegar sound different from other bands.”
The band’s hodgepodge sound fuses “properly”-functioning instruments with slightly dodgier counterparts salvaged from dumpsters and dusty op-shops, including a motley assortment of percussive odds and ends (including an old abandoned marching drum) that have been fused to form a sort of Frankenstein-esque drum-kit.
Lang agrees that relying on such an odd collection of instruments poses some challenges to touring. The band partly overcomes this hurdle by taking electronic samples before hitting the road, says Lang, adding, “we’ve still got all sorts of crap that we take with us.”
Off The Leash, June 2012 issue, p22