University is a follow-up to High School, which was an angst-ridden compilation album with a mix of nihilistic punk songs, naive love ballads and a lot of weird spoken word crap about finding one’s identity. University is a much better effort and the album opens with “O-Week”, a tune about making mistakes and the freaks you macked on with, which pops up again and again as a clever leitmotif throughout the album.
Track two continues the fun with “Sense of Possibilities”, which, although short, does provide a nice lead-in to “Readjusting Future Plans”; that song is all about dropping courses, changing degrees, disappointing your parents and realising that you won’t ever effect any meaningful change in the world.
“Youth Allowance” is a pretty effective blues number all about that level of student poverty that means you’re richer than most humans who have ever lived, but are still depressed because youl can’t afford a Mimco bag or to drink anything other than goon. The experimental track “Drug Use” is intense but overall you probably regret listening to it, while track seven (“Class”) and eight (“Study”) are in that dead part of the album you normally skip.
The single from the album is the feelgood pop hit, “Party”, which will have you dancing, but you’ll be right back down again when it transitions into the next track, “Hangover” and you’ll go even lower with “Loss of Self-Esteem Upon Remembering How You Debased Yourself Last Night” which is a 12 minute dirge you think is never going to end.
The worst song, however, is the nausea inducing noise track called “Student Politics”, which consisted mainly of whiny, irrelevant vocals but which the singers clearly thought were important: they’re not.
One of the most effective tracks is a trance effort called “Feelings of Superiority Over Uneducated People and an Ever Growing Sense of Elitism” which you only really appreciate once the album is over, but is perhaps the most satisfying part of this work.
The album closes with “Graduation” an over-sentimental power ballad you wish would wrap up earlier. There is a hidden track tacked on the end called “Qualifications” but it doesn’t really seem to be relevant to the rest of the album.
Better than going straight into Full-Time Employment (a turgid double-album), three stars.
This article originally appeared in Woroni in 2011.