When public support systems fall short, who ends up carrying the burden? The question courses through All Her Plans, the third album from Naarm/Melbourne rock ‘n’ roll trio Cable Ties.
The band’s most sonically confident work yet, All Her Plans builds on Cable Ties trademarks: taut garage rhythms, perfectly wiry guitar lines, incandescent vocals. Bassist Nick Brown’s and drummer Shauna Boyle’s kraut-inflected grooves pulse reliably behind the post-punk jag of Jenny McKechnie’s guitar.
Thrumming with the same intensity as the band’s previous releases, the record offers more concentrated, personal lyrics from lead vocalist and guitarist McKechnie as she traces themes of addiction, mental health, and Australia’s flagging healthcare system, with much drawn from the experiences of her own family.
“Perfect Client” vents the frustration McKechnie has felt watching someone close to her remain at the mercy of a flawed mental healthcare system. You can practically hear her blood boiling in “Silos” as she takes aim at privatization and the carceral state. Change laments how slow social progress can feel.
“‘Change’ is about the trauma left by the violence of the patriarchy, and how to keep surviving and fighting even when it feels like we’re going backwards,” says McKechnie.
Alongside the album’s fury, there are bright spots too. “Time for You” honors the solace found in the love of a partner and the anthemic chorus of “Crashing Through” is a testament to picking yourself up after being blindsided by something completely out of your control.
“I found the idea of writing a new album a little terrifying after all our touring plans got canceled just after we released Far Enough in 2020,” McKechnie says. “It felt as though that album had been lost. I thought I needed to write another album like that again, which wouldn’t be lost. This of course wasn’t true. I needed to write whatever album came out of me at this moment in time.”
On “Mum’s Caravan” – the track from which the album’s title is drawn – McKechnie reaches into her folk background to pull out sweeter vocals and delicate storytelling, recognising the sacrifices her own mother has made to care for loved ones when mental health and aged care services failed to do so.
Boyle takes the lead vocal reins for the first time with “Thoughts Back,” delivering a fierce take on the toll of mental health challenges. “I wrote this song mostly centered around my own experiences with mental illness,” she says. “It also plays into the themes of the record, such as care-giving and mental workload. So often people give up their own lives to help others and, as a result, rarely have their voices, their experiences or their history acknowledged.”
All Her Plans was recorded in June/July 2022 by long-time collaborator Paul Maybury at A Secret Location Studio in Fairfield. Fellow Melbourne-based legend Michael Beach cameos on piano and organ on “Too Late” and acoustic guitar and piano on “Mum’s Caravan.” The album artwork riffs on the theme of relinquishing control: Emme Orbach and Noah Spivak’s work uses chemical reactions to create unique, evolving patterns.
Brown says, after a tough few years, the writing process for All Her Plans was liberating. “There was just a sense of enjoying being back together doing what we love. No pressure to make it good – just to make what felt good. With that came a freeing and in turn a playfulness; the re-sparking of why we started jamming together in a shed seven years earlier. The themes might be heavy, but the hands feel unburdened by the world outside our little practice space.”
Formed in 2015, Cable Ties quickly became mainstays of Melbourne’s feminist punk scene. They released their second album Far Enough in March 2020 (Poison City, Australia/New Zealand; Merge Records, internationally), which won Best Rock/Punk Album at the 2020 Music Victoria Awards.
No strangers to international stages, Cable Ties supported Jen Cloher on her 2017 UK/EU tour, and played The Great Escape and UK shows with Tropical Fuck Storm and Amyl & the Sniffers in 2019. In Australia, they’ve played alongside artists including Sleaford Mods, Joan Jett, and The Kills.
U.S. TOUR DATES 2023
Sep 8 – Richmond, VA – Richmond Music Hall #
Sep 9 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar #
Sep 10 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall #
Sep 12 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground #
Sep 13 – Portland, ME – SPACE Gallery #
Sep 14 – Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom #
Sep 15 – Woodstock, NY – Colony #
Sep 16 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom #
# – w/Superchunk