Why Australia's The Preatures Are on the Verge of Breaking Out (Hint: The Rolling Stones Are Fans)
What happens when one of the best rock albums of the year arrives and only Australia notices? That has been the case for The Preatures, a Sydney quintet whose debut, Blue Planet Eyes, bowed at No. 4 on the Australian album chart. In America, the LP was a digital-only release (Sept. 30, Harvest) and thus far has failed to crack the Billboard 200 (CD and vinyl editions are due out Nov. 25).
But the album, co-produced by Spoon's Jim Eno, is a pop-rock tour de force, and with the band opening for Pink and The Rolling Stones, it's doubtful it will stay secret for long. Singer-keyboardist Isabella Manfredi, 25, and guitarist Jack Moffitt, 24, explain a few things about The Preatures before they take on the world.
The band has already survived internal drama. Manfredi replaced guitarist Gideon Benson as lead singer in 2013. "It was tough, but we made it clear to him that he's important," says Manfredi. "That's what every band goes through when you cross over into being serious."
Manfredi is a provocative frontwoman -- and she's OK with that."[On stage] you've got to develop some armor, some kind of character," says Manfredi. "I took on this character who wears all white and has all the pop connotations that come with it -- Bee Gees, Britney [Spears], Miley [Cyrus]. But by the end of one show, I decimated it. I poured water on myself, I rolled around; it was exhilarating. I don't wear bras onstage, and this guy tweeted, 'As the father of a young daughter, I advise the singer of the Preatures to buy a bra. It's disgusting.' I didn't reply, but it made me realize it was provocative, which was exactly what I was trying to achieve."
Her girl power has been a boon for the band. "The way females communicate is much more emotionally honest and direct," says Moffitt. "With guys it's usually bullshit. It's nice to have someone in the band making sure that we're actually talking about things."
They've got a dream gig coming up.The Preatures are opening for the Stones in Australia this month."We were told we might be up for it, but when you're in a band people tell you all kinds of things," says Moffitt. "Then our manager sent us an email with just the tongue [logo] on it ... it's hard to describe that feeling. It doesn't seem real."
But bigger shows aren't always better. "I have a lot of respect for people who can do arena shows night after night, but I don't covet that," says Manfredi. "I like to be right up in people's faces."
An edited version of this story appeared in the Nov. 8 issue of Billboard.