The Model School
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The Model School


Band Alternative Rock


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"Alarm Clock Radiation review"

Alarm Clock Radiation

Craig Mathieson, Reviewer
June 30, 2006

It's easy to pick out the various antecedents that influence Alarm Clock Radiation, the debut album from the Model School, aka Sydney singer-songwriter Brendan Wixted: the acoustic whimsy and melodica of Dreamin' suggest the Eels at their sweetest, while the syncopation and beats of Sweet Tooth owe an obvious allegiance to Beck.

But if Wixted, a late bloomer, has his influences, he's secure enough to enjoy them and confident enough to advance them a step further. The gently fuzzed guitar of Imitation Slips Away reveals an ear for melancholic concern that is augmented by his husky, unadorned voice, while Fireworks and Flags softly rails against our age of apathy - "You can't build a world on the back of silent tongues," Wixted sings, "we should all be screaming at the top of our lungs" before picking up shards of discordant noise to augment the Kinks-like melody.

Power-pop aficionados will pick up on If the Sun, but what's most noticeable is that Alarm Clock Radiation isn't diminished by repeated play. The Model School has a genuine charm, but is never content to be merely affable. - The Age

"Alarm Clock Radiation review"

Saturday August 05, 2006
By Rebecca Barry

Not to be confused with hip-hop parodists Handsome Boy Modelling School, this faculty is thoughtful Aussie singer-songwriter Brendon Wixted. The poncy name is a shame because Wixted is a talented fella. He has a silky, understated voice, and a knack for penning insightful, mid-tempo pop songs just made for lonely stretches of road.

If the name is significant, it's probably because Wixted acts as his own orchestra, playing melodica, sampler, synthesizer, mandolin, stylophone, guitar and bass. At times, that makes him sound like a forlorn cowboy playing with a beatbox. At others, he wears his influences proudly. You'd swear it was E of the Eels singing on Dreamin' or Beck getting cynical about the state of commercial radio on Sweet Tooth.

And while he doesn't quite reach the intensity of either singer he's on his way to matching their inventiveness with catchy songs like Heart Shaped Song and the haunting Fireworks & Flags, with its outcast lyrics and cinematic effects.

The title track will ensure fans take a synth rather than a guitar to the campfire. Best of all, you could strip away the bells and whistles and the haunting beauty of the songs would still shine through. This is a one-man-band with a big future.

Verdict: Sydney has soul after all - New Zealand Herald

"Alarm Clock Radiation review"

Album review by: Cornbread
Posted: Tuesday, July 11

You know how you have those days at work where you're sitting at your desk at 4pm, staring at the clock on your computer and waiting for the minutes to tick over? Deadlines are looming, everyone's a little stressed and you know you have heaps to do but you really don't want to do it.

Well, The Model School have the perfect remedy - Alarm Clock Radiation.

One of the most gorgeous albums I've heard in a long time, this gentle guitar-driven work is something you can put on and retreat into a little happy world of serenity. I honestly sat there, headphones plugged into the computer, with such a dreamy smile on my face that the boss kept asking what was wrong.

Alarm Clock Radiation is not for people who are chasing rock, dance, funk or anything similar. But then again, it's not for all you Jack Johnson fans out there either - think more of a happy medium somewhere in between.

It's jam-packed full of poetic imagery, but without sounding like a 14-year-old's angst-ridden diary. Songs about dreams and love may prevail, but you won't find yourself wishing that vocalist Brendan Wixted would just get on with it, because it's so lovely being lulled into wherever he's taking you.

But the best thing about Alarm Clock Radiation is that it never sticks at the same pace. From the melancholy 'Heart Shaped Song' to the more post-country 'Into my Arms Again' (where I'm pretty sure I heard a banjo), it is layered so well that there is always something else to hear. I listened to this album three times and didn't even get close to sick of it.

There are a lot of similarities to the Eels (particularly in 'Dreamin') and maybe even a bit of a Beck feel, but mainly The Model School have their own bloody good thing happening on Alarm Clock Radiation. Definitely one for the collection. - The Dwarf

"Artist interview"

Not content to simply explore and challenge musical boundaries over the course of an entire album, The Model School takes listeners on amazing musical adventures within the space of each song. Musical styles are blended here to perfect effect and with stunning fluidity, creating combinations previously thought unimaginable. The Model School makes everything seem possible.

With their debut album, ‘Alarm Clock Radiation’ released in July 2006, The Model School show that the old rules no longer apply. Clearly defined musical styles no longer need to be mutually exclusive.

‘Sweet Tooth’ mixes styles with ease, creating a wonderfully unique blend of experimental pop and electronica. With its rich and heavily laden vocals, it builds to an elegantly simple chorus. Great lyrics and an intriguing melody ensure this song catches in your mind. ‘One Way Ticket’ is a beautifully paced song with a country folksy feel. The direct lyrics are delivered with heartfelt emotion and paint a wonderfully real picture of life.

‘Heart Shaped Song’ has a raw and genuine sound. The vocal performance is delivered with perfect restraint and convincingly conveys delicate emotion and deeply felt vulnerability. With its poetic lyrics, this is a beautiful slow-paced dreamy little song. ‘Into My Arms Again’ brings together shades of acoustic, pop, folk and country. This song is pure emotion, telling a story with its lyrics and with its music.

The Model School offers a fascinating conglomeration of styles which are applied to a diverse range of subjects, often resulting in music which sounds like it should be from another world. However rather than creating something unattainable, they have a genuine ability to take this uniqueness and translate it into something beautiful, something honest, and something real. If this is the kind of stuff that they teach at this school, then sign me up for lessons!


I recently caught up with the man behind The Model School, the multi-talented Brendan Wixted to discuss musical styles, influences and the future.

TS: Did you grow up in a musical household?
BW: No, no-one in my family actively played music - but there was always music of some kind playing in the house … early on it was mostly Beatles and other 60’s stuff.

TS: Which of your songs means the most to you and why?
BW: Thats really hard - what do they say, songs are like children, you have to love them all! If I had to pick one on the album I’d say One Way Ticket because it represented a breakthrough for me in songwriting - and it seems to have a feeling to it that is what I aim for when I write any song…that is its hard to define why the song is good or likeable. Alarm Clock Radiation would be a close second, but hey, I did say I’d pick one!

TS: Your album contains such a diversity of styles, and your lyrics pay respect to a whole host of subjects. Does this reflect the diversity of your own musical tastes?
BW: Yeah, it reflects that but also the fact that the album had a long gestation period … so i ended up choosing the best songs regardless of them being quite different. I think the album hangs together ok but maybe next time I’d possibly sharpen my focus a bit. Having said that I do like the fact that its a bit all over the place stylistically. My musical tastes are fairly varied although the common denominator is usually melody … I’m a sucker for a good one! My favourite artists would be Elliott Smith and Tom Waits at the moment.

TS: How has life changed for you since the release of your debut album?
BW: Well, personally it took a great weight off my shoulders in terms of my first musical step - I’m really excited now to see what I come up with next as I really have no idea!

TS: You seem to have gone to great lengths to maintain control over all aspects of the creative process. Is it then hard for you to stop tinkering with your songs?
BW: Its really hard - but I’m really happy once I decide that’s it, I can walk away from a song. It’s so easy to get too caught up in everything and lose sight of what you were aiming for. I think I’d like to work with more people in the future, but mainly on a producing/engineering level … I’d be happy to relinquish some of the knob twiddling!!

TS: Who would be your dream artist to perform with and why?
BW: If you mean as support band then I’d have to say The Flaming Lips - it just looks like so much fun when they play live! If you mean actually play live with another band I’d happily sit in for a jam with Beck or the Eels … again more people who really make the live show a fun experience.

TS: How would you describe your music to other people?
BW: I usually say folk-rock with some modern trappings … and then maybe ramble on about the songs being the most important thing.

TS: What is the next step for you? More recording, more touring, or a well earned rest?
BW: I don’t think I can rest I just get too uptight! I’ve started getting demo’s together for the nex - Quiet Paws blog

"Alarm Clock Radiation review"

Monday 4, September 2006

The Model School is a one-man Sydney band (also known as Brendan Wixted). His sound is urban folk. If you dig the Eels and the Go-Betweens, make sure you check out his debut album. It documents the search for love and meaning in a troubled world. There are some kooky sounds, but the songs shine through. Wixted sings: “I’d rather walk alone than join a parade.” He doesn’t fit into the new wave of sensitive, singer-songwriters, but these songs are strong. Just check out the title track, a powerful piece of work, which features the lyric: “It scares me to think I could hurt you, but not even feel a thing.” This guy is good.

- Jeff Jenkins - Music Australia Guide


Alarm Clock Radiation (2006 via Shiny Records)



The Model School, the conception and endeavor of musician Brendan Wixted, is a dream-pop, alt-country band based out of Sydney, Australia. Wixted first started recording under the name The Model School in 2004 with a lo-fi EP he recorded on an outdated 4-track tape machine. He self-released the EP (called Demonstration Disk) in late 2004, followed by a few solo acoustic gigs.

In 2005, Wixted assembled a full band, which started gaining fans at shows around the Sydney area, and eventually he started to record his debut album. Using Protools and a computer at home, Wixted started recording and mixing some of the songs he had written. He spent a week at Damien Gerrard Studios putting down drums (with live drummer Chris Frost) and other instruments, and then added more home recorded elements back at his house. The result, Alarm Clock Radiation, is a magnificent mix of dreamy pop and subtle alt-country rock songs.

In 2006 the debut album “Alarm Clock Radiation” was released thru Shiny Records, to widespread critical acclaim.
2006 also saw The Model School as a live band play with such luminaries as Okkervil River, Bluebottle Kiss, The Phoenix Foundation and Toni Collette and The Finish – as well as album launches in both Sydney and Melbourne. After signing to US management company Front Burner Music in 2007 The Model School is now writing and recording the follow up album and from all reports its set to be a doozy. In the meantime keep an eye out as The Model School will be playing gigs in Sydney,Melbourne and Brisbane this year.