Methyl Ethel Finish Triptych With ‘Triage'

We speak with Methyl Ethel's Jake Webb ahead of the band's Casbah show

"The claim is more that the work itself is the action," Jake Webb said of his new album, "Triage," once we connected over the phone a couple of weeks ago.

Webb is the centerpiece of the Perth, Australia, band Methyl Ethel, who released their new album in February.

In medicine, triage is the process of assigning degrees of severity to injuries or illnesses and priority to the patients afflicted.

Following that definition, Webb might seem to be making the claim that the band's third studio album is their most important or most urgent work to date -- even the most in need of attention. However, according to him, he's "using triage loosely."

"A lot of titles stick onto my work more than I go hunting for them. And it becomes what it becomes every time.... It's a cold logic often -- what is the lesser of the evils?" Webb said.

While the word triage comes from the French "trier," which means to separate out, unpacking each syllable opens up some interesting perspectives on the content of the album itself.

"Tri-," for instance, brings to mind the idea of threes, and coupled with the Francis Bacon-inspired album cover, "Triage" serves as the final panel of the triptych begun with 2015's "Oh Inhuman Spectacle."

"After the completion of the last one [album], that’s how I think about them," Webb said.

"[Visual art] is just an interest, just personal interest.... It's good to find inspiration across the board. A lot of my friends are visual artists, and helping promote visual art is also a good thing. People helping each other out is really important. I'm a big Francis Bacon fan," he added.

"Often my approach involves too many ideas. If I was painting, I wouldn’t go like this needs every single color. I'm not actually gonna use all of the colors, so I should be approaching it more like a visual artist. Anything that can serve as a sort of oblique inspiration ... and just to maintain general cultural awareness," he said.

Naturally, "-age" conjurs the obvious. 

"The coming of age thing is something from my experience. It’s like there is such an importance put on certain ages. More and more, I'm realizing that being out and away from all of that, it’s just such a state of mind. It's one of those things that comes and goes. Whether it’s important or not, this weird metaphysical things happens where an age or year goes by, but it's highly personal what everyone feels. It's a very common kind of experience, but it's also highly personal. [Age] is this place where the public and the private intersect -- it involves things that are easy to openly talk about, but very personal experiences," Webb said.

"These days, as well, personal and private are also a very valuable commodity, especially with artists that have anything to say. It makes for great reading. There's this disconnect between the audience and people who are creating the content. More and more, people are treating audiences as a little bit stupid," he added.

Methyl Ethel headline Casbah on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Get tickets here.

Rutger Ansley Rosenborg is an editor and digital marketer at NBC's SoundDiego. Find out more here.

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