Renowned Melbourne post-punk unit Constant Mongrel are winding the gears ahead of the release of their new album Living In Excellence next month. In true Constant Mongrel form, the record carries a weighty sound, burdened with wry critique and self-reflection. It’s an album that casts an eye over the world and its troubles, while also acknowledging the inherent failings and hypocrisy of white, middle-class living. We’re premiering the first single from the record – the title track – plus a chat with the band!
It’s serendipitous that this piece comes out at this exact moment. Parliament is in shambles and if there’s anything that exemplifies the established system’s greed and self-centredness it’s a leadership spill. While not an overtly political group, I have no doubt that the members of Constant Mongrel would have some thoughts on the topic. The public outcry surrounding the matter is going largely unheard by the party in charge, with the power players too caught up forming inter-party alliances to, uh, do their jobs. It evidences a real disconnect between the governing system and the population – the upper crust is too caught up living their best lives to consider the fact that others are barely living. Constant Mongrel’s forthcoming album Living In Excellence isn’t a tribute to this stale power dynamic, but rather an indictment of the hypocrisy at the belief that we’re the lucky country – isolated from the world’s woes, too blessed to be stressed about issues beyond our own piece of turf.
The term ‘living in excellence’ is a falsehood. The vast majority of people aren’t living in excellence, and those privileged enough to be are usually wholly unaware of the societal status quo. White Australians live in a bubble of security and ignorance – blissfully oblivious to the struggles of those in their own country and further abroad. Although several enlightened individuals work their butts off to rectify this, the increasing amount of ineffective lip service paid to the cause prohibits real progress. The folks in Constant Mongrel acknowledge their place in this system, and the record dedicates time and thought to addressing topics such as modern fascism, racism and religion, as well as white guilt and self-loathing – all with a sprinkle of the band’s tongue-in-cheek humour.