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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

Australian Two-Piece Indie Pop-Rock Band This Way North Release Powerful New Album 'Punching Underwater'

By Stevie Connor.

Critically-acclaimed duo This Way North released their long-awaited debut album Punching Underwater on February 8th, 2024. The album is co-produced by award-winning artist Ainslie Wills and esteemed engineer and producer Jono Steer. 

Years on the road, touring in Australia and abroad, gave the two-piece indie pop-rock band an appreciation for open space and adventure. Landing in north-east Victoria on Dhudhuroa country when the pandemic hit, long-time friends, collaborators, and partners, Jungalwalla and Leahy traded freedom on the road for a home amongst ancient trees and high-country valleys. This unexpected move, drawing in close and giving themselves the gift of stillness, prompted unbridled creativity and culminated in their upcoming debut album. 

This Way North has previously been named Music Victoria’s Best Regional Act, with 3 EP’s under their belt they have continued their rise across Australia, New Zealand and Canada, supporting artists such as, Vika and Linda Bull, Ash Grunwald and Kate Ceberano. Featuring the wondrous sounds of Christine Tootoo’s Inuit throat singing, recorded in Iqaluit, Arctic Canada, This Way North released the first single entitled ‘My Love’  from the album, achieving national rotation on Double J, making the top 5 of the AMRAP charts and delighting their beloved fans. 

For Punching Underwater, the duo are in peak song writing and performance form, culminating in a record that displays their creative prowess both musically and lyrically. Award-winning musician Ainslie Wills took the helm of producer for the first time, sharing the duty with long-time creative partner and producer Jono Steer. This dream team allowed Cat and Leisha to delve deeper into each song lyrically and musically, finessing each track to bring out the best of their incredible ability.

Recorded across studios in Melbourne and Romsey in central Victoria, the lush dynamic sounds of each song hold their own both individually and collectively. Featuring Cat Leahy’s flamboyant, powerful, and percussive drumming and Leisha Jungalwalla’s intricate guitar tones and slide guitar chops, each track has been meticulously crafted by the team. Xani, Little Wise, Tuckshop Ladies and Ainslie Wills provide guest vocals, and Ainslie also contributes deliciously placed keys on several songs, while Jono Steer laid down some tasty synth. For the first time, a This Way North record features a guest bassist in acclaimed musician Brett Langsford (Dan Sultan, Magic Mountain Band), who adds the perfect layer alongside TWN’s rhythms.

With songs co-written with Bobby Alu and Little Wise, this album features some of Australia’s most understated and brilliant musical minds. Big harmonies and strong melodies, this record is full of it. Whilst their previous records have been about travelling on the road, Punching Underwater travels within the self. The introspective nature came about when Cat and Leisha had the time and stillness to go inward and explore their own insecurities, imposter syndromes, and self-doubts. The battle of trying not to fall in love, confidence and self-love, anxiety, the highs of being content and happy, to the lows of war, the joy of evolution as a woman… there is something for everyone. Ultimately though, the songs end on a positive, with the exploration leading to the celebration of the self and wherever life beckons.



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