lutruwita/Tasmania country-tinged punk outfit Free Live Sports have skyrocketed with the release of their sophomore album I’ll Fish When I’m Dead.

I’ll Fish When I’m Dead was written over the course of three years, with the band (Madeleine Laing – vocals/bass, Steven Rose – guitars/synth/vocals, Dave Holmes – drums) recording it themselves at home in just over three days. Songs were completed in a couple of takes, with vocals captured in a makeshift closet studio. Blending country-tinged punk with raw hooks and driving rhythms, the DIY effort follows their 2021 debut Stay Grounded, released to underground claim via longstanding indie label Rough Skies Records (Native Cats, Cured Pink, Rabbit).

I’ll Fish When I’m Dead explores themes of adulthood, existentialism, and isolation, with Laing and Rose swapping vocal duties throughout the album. Described by the group as “wonky rock constantly at risk of coming apart at the seams,” the record strikes a delicate balance of sweet and spiteful, soft and hard, earnest and hard.

Laing explains the evolution from Stay Grounded (2021) : “[It] was a lot simpler and more stripped back, because I had never been in a band or played music before, and Dave had just learned the drums. We were working hard just to play our instruments, Steve holding most of the songs together. I didn’t start learning bass until 2019, after a long time of writing/blogging about music in Brisbane. I considered myself more of a fan, never thinking I’d have the guts to actually try playing, so it was exciting to learn I can actually do it. The new album features two songs I wrote, ‘Sleep Hygiene’ and ‘Sounding it Out’, plus more singing from me, which makes it a bit more vulnerable and personal.”

Bandmates Rose and Holmes, seasoned musicians with countless acts under their belts (208L Containers, Sydney 2000, Liquid Nails, Powernap and Mainlanders) have been making music together since they were in high school in Batemans Bay, playing hundreds of shows over the past decade. Laing, a former music blogger, brings a unique perspective to the group, picking up bass for the first time in 2019. “It was daunting [picking up a bass] at first,” she admits, “but it’s become a powerful tool for expressing myself alongside writing lyrics.” Laing’s newfound confidence shines on “I’ll Fish When I’m Dead, contributing two original songs (‘Sleep Hygiene’, ‘Sounding it Out’) while leading or joining in on vocal duties across the album’s ten tracks.

“Music is a more immediate art form than writing,” Laing explains. “You can express emotions and ideas directly, while leaving room for interpretation. I like the restrictions of having to say exactly what you mean in a few lines, of finding the right words to match the music, plus how much live performance can change how songs are interpreted.”

Release: May 24th, 2024, Independent