BY ABBY ROSE NOTARNICOLA //
There are some songs that never fail you. They don’t get stale or remind you of a time you want to forget. They remain uncorrupted by your thoughts, whereabouts, or disposition. Every time one of those songs comes on, it grounds you. You’re so connected to the style, the sound, the message, that it feels like a projection of who you are. For me “Booster Seat” by Spacey Jane is that song. Just like in rare moments of meeting new people, when I heard this song for the first time we instantly clicked.
Spacey Jane is an Australian indie-rock band that rose to the top of ARIA’s charts in 2021. Their story begins with lead singer Caleb Harper and drummer Kieran Lama jamming together in high school hoping to form a real band. The duo found themselves in Perth, a city famous for its budding music scene and birthing the cult-followed Tame Impala. There, they were introduced to guitarist, Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu, and bassist, Amelia Marry. The group gained immense popularity following their 2017 single, “Feeding the Family”. Since then Peppa Lane has replaced Marry on the bass, and this newly established foursome has sold out shows, booked music festivals, scheduled an international tour and signed with AWAL, the same record label that represents Lauv, Dayglow, girl in red, Gus Dapperton and many other well-known independent artists.
Several factors contribute to Spacey Jane’s widespread success, but in the end, it all comes down to their endlessly catchy grooves. Their top chart hitting singles, like “Feeding the Family”, “Lots of Nothing” and “Lunchtime”, and their whole debut album Sunlight which released in 2021 (and houses the aforementioned “Booster Seat”), all possess the magical ability to get you out of your head, lost in the song, and mindlessly moving to the beat.
Just like my all time favorite band, Kings of Leon Spacey Jane’s songs possess a meditative, transporting effect. And the similarities don’t end there! The lead singers (both named Caleb) were each gifted with scratchy vocals and use the rawness of their voice to add emotion and direct the shifting tempos. Spacey Jane’s pop-rock feel recalls KOL’s early sound, relying on bouncy guitar riffs and soft percussion to create an airy quality that leaves listeners relaxed yet unable to sit still. You can really feel every ramp up, ramp down and turn between each thoughtful lyric.
“Booster Seat” is the best example of their tumultuous sound. The song hooks you in with the layering of two groovy guitar riffs, when suddenly it cuts out. Caleb’s voice floats in, loud over some soft base and subtle percussion. The riffs start to come back as Caleb’s vocals strengthen, building up to a big chorus, which is followed by another fade. It feels like you’re peacefully floating in the ocean, when suddenly, you spot the huge crest of an approaching wave. You fear that it may be too big and you’ll get crushed but you glide over and down, until seconds later when another wave comes and you repeat the cycle over and over again.
The song was strategically composed to feel like a panic attack. In an album walkthrough with PileRats, Caleb explained the premise as being a kid stuck in a booster seat “with their feet dangling about the car floor and having basically no control, completely at the mercy of the people they love. It’s a metaphor …for losing control of yourself in love through anxiety, and relying on the person you love to protect and keep from harm.”
Spacey Jane employs thoughtfulness and intention while crafting each song, and that also goes for their lyrics, particularly in the chorus:
“And if it wasn’t for that time in the taxi/When you called it out, you said it was anxiety/Well, you held me from the back of the front seat/And you told me all the times that you’d lied to me/Well, I felt like a kid, like I could touch my feet/As they hovered above the ground in my booster seat/Oh-oh-oh/Well, it feels like that again.”
The imagery is so clear; I can feel his anxiety flaring–he’s panicked, lost, afraid like a little boy with no control over his life. Once again his fate is at the will of the people who love him but they can also hurt him the most. This realization makes him aware of his own vulnerability, or his dangling feet.
In the same interview, Caleb says, “It makes me cry when I listen to it sometimes, I hope people are able to find something as moving in the content as I am.”
We definitely can. I think the metaphor in this song was why I was so drawn to it in the first place, and if the band keeps making music like this, there’s no doubt they’ll make a fan out of every listener.
Spacey Jane may not be super well known in the states– but they will be. Now is the time to get ahead of the curve and jump on Australia’s bandwagon– just in time for their North American tour kicking off in May. To get more Spacey Jane, be sure to check out the links below, and save the Your Next Favorite Artist: Spacey Jane playlist on Spotify to start listening to their best now! I highly recommend watching their live performances; if this hasn’t sold you, their infectious energy will.
To Watch //
To Read //
To Listen //
To Connect //