:: Thursday, May 18, 2006
THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING
hiya kids! and welcome to this week's shiny CD reviews.. where we offer nothing but Australian releases for review.. yup, that's right.. 100% freakin' OZ.. from the SPOZ.. why? just because.. yup.. and I'm rhyming too.. and quite likely going insane.. so, hmmm.. yeah.. perhaps I should get that looked at.. but first.. check out these reviews.. and discover some new music.. boiiing!
GERLING - 4
in brief: gerling raw and un-plugged
rating: 1.5 / 5
GERLING have been a funny little band, the sorta spazzed out scruffy backpack wearing geek kids we all could love.. releasing record after record of mismatched wacky sci-fi noodlings, cut-up guitars, spastic electro and off-key screaming..
you have the 1st record - a tripped out oddyssey of PAVEMENT meets AIR.. all space cadet and indie guitar fuzz mixed with drum machines, followed by the 2nd album - an ecclectic bouncy castle mashup of stunt casting musical celebrities and wacked out electro (and probably one of the only times you'd ever see KYLIE MINOGUE and KOOL KEITH on the same record without causing y'self an aneurysm).. followed by the sublime 3rd album - an all screaming, all gnashing, rough as all bollocks disco-punk sleeze masterpiece.. seriously, these crazy kids did so many freakin' things in all directions.. covering so many freaking genres and sounds.. wot was there not to love?
but.. then we hit album number 4, imaginatively titled "4".. and the wheels have well n truly fallen off the wagon.. as after doing every single musical experiment on earth, now they try and go back to reclaiming their roots by producing this - a stripped back, raw, "un-plugged", thrashing little garage rock record.. and sure.. it's a nice concept that maybe works for the first few songs.. but stretched over an entire record this minimal rootsy approach really wears you thin, to the point where you feel like they'd ran out've ideas after all these years and decided to hand some kids on the street $500 to cook up the album instead, using nothing but a shitty 4track and some borrowed 2nd hand instruments.. (seriously, I've heard crappy demo's from Adelaide bands from 10 years ago that sounded way more inspired than this.. like WTF maan!?)
with all these fuzzy badly recorded drums.. distorted whinging vocals.. half asleep harmonies and jangling indie guitars.. it'd be great if this was still the early 90's and we were looking for another slacker record.. but, dammit.. from a goofy band with all the ecclectic potential of GERLING, this is really shit.. and I'm damn near disappointed maaaaan.. like, where's the FUN gone? where's the BUZZ? where's the space-cadet antics and the nuttiness? could it be, that without the tricks, the gimics and the quirkiness, GERLING are nothing but a cynical cookie cutter garage band? hmmmm.. seriously.. who would want that?
highlights: TURNING THE SCREWS, AUF WIDERSEHN (ditch the rest)
I HEART HIROSHIMA - A THREE LETTER WORD FOR CANDY
in brief: skeletal art punk
rating: 2.5 / 5
this is a nifty little EP I picked up from THE GRATES gig a few weeks back.. mostly bought on the dumb merits of just how cool (ie: cute) the female singer/drummer wuz in this band.. so, how does the EP compare from the live set? hmmmm.. we shall see shall we?
the sound here is bare to the bones minimal and it's indie as all fuck.. all spiky little dance punk beats, whining off key singing, gunning guitars, with weirdly off-harmony boy/girl harmonies throughout.. very much reminiscent of SONIC YOUTH, but with all the feedback and lush textures taken out've it, perhaps even referencing the 60's sound of JEFFERSON AEROPLANE.. so, it really could be just the thing to drop acid to, stand in front of a lava lamp and swirl the night away in a technicolour haze while go-go dancers swing away in cages.. y'know.. if that's yer thing.. ;)
and in small doses it's all really quite cool.. there's a definite hunger here, a lusting energy in the percussive guitars and stabby drums.. but.. there really isn't any variety.. so, by the last song, the accumilative effect of the skeletal arrangements, punky beats and off key singing tends to just annoy the living piss out've you.. although, granted.. there's really some cool ideas here and with a bit of development forward they could really have something.. so, guess I'll wait and see wot they come up with next, aye?
highlights - IT'S A CRIME, I FEEL IT
SNOWMAN - ZOMBIES ON THE AIRWAVES OF PARIS
in brief: vampire surf-rock cinema
rating: 4 / 5
listening to this album is somewhat akin to the experience of a DAVID LYNCH movie mixed with 60's surf rock, the madness of the B52's on a cocaine-binge with something else so ridiculously insane it could only be described as a violent mix up between a horn section and a halloween party gone horribly HORRIBLY wrong.. and yeah, I know it sounds messy when I describe it here.. and I really don't quite understand how screaming VAMPIRE BAT horror schlock can mix with surf-rock and film noir cinema without coming off sounding like a trainwreck.. yet somehow, here, these guys work it so damn brilliantly you could almost forgive the mess of it all..
it's like the comically corrupted perversion of a 60's highschool film cautioning you on all the evils of teenage sex and alcohol consumption put to a swirling symphony of chaos, beatnick surf jams and grinning death.. bringing you everything from the nightmare gnashings of zombies and ghouls, whacked out trombones, saxaphones, revelry horns, sampled snippets of black n white midnight cinema to DAVID LYNCH styled nightmare dark guitar noodlings..
there's no real songs here, no invidual moments and no real predictable plot or direction and it all just bleeds together into a mess with total disregard for direction, rhyme or reason.. but it's a damn near enjoyable one at that.. and sure, it's not for the weak willed, but it's still highly recommended all the same..
highlights - LOST IN THE WOODS, NIGHTMARE RECORDS, ZOMBIES ON THE AIRWAVES OF PARIS
MR WEDNESDAY - GARDENS WHERE PARTIES GROW
in brief: brooding cinematics
rating: 5 / 5
this is a contemplative, intellectually brooding and profound canvass of sound detailing the harrowing journey of one man selling his soul to the corporate machine.. living the life of well trodden pavement, flickering flourescent lights, neck-tie nooses and hair splitting time management.. all told thru the medium of well delineated shuffling percussion, tinkling piano's, water droplet synths, noodling swamp guitars and swirling violins.. all in all, a high concept album.. but, a damn accessible and absorbing one all the same..
the sound of this album references everything from mid 70's rock opera PINK FLOYD (especially with the "WALL'esque" megaphone rant and ravings of the title song, "THE GARDEN WHERE PARTIES GROW" and "FALLING IN NUMBERS") to the eerie and unsettling transcendance of SIGUR ROS, the howling blues of TOM WAITS, the orchestral smoothness of THE DOVES to the technological dystopiate of RADIOHEAD's "OK COMPUTER".. making for the perfect cinematic filmscore record for that midweek onset of depression.. bringing with it the uncertainty of a late sleepless night staring at the alarm clock as it flickers 4AM, the cold rain trickling down windows and street lights hanging stark reflections on the shuffling figures below.. it's all quite damn near freaking beautiful and delicate for the most part.. and yet, quite often this beauty then switches in a heartbeat to moments of pure grey walled terror and churning mechanised nausea..
it can be occassionally tricky to decipher as this IS a dense record and it will likely take a patient and attentive listener to truly figure out the riddle this concept poses.. and yet, at the same time it rewards even the casual listener with a truly sublime journey.. smooth, tranquil.. yet turbulent.. fit for the dinner party and art gallery..
overall it's really quite surprising that this was produced in ADELAIDE by a bunch of humble musicians making their first debut album.. the whole effect here is quite mature, restrained and evolved.. making for a damn near masterpiece in cinematic sound that puts a lot've more grander artists to shame.. well worth exploring for yourself.. go get it now :)
highlights: SPARE SKY FOR MILES, THE CARGO DOORS HAVE REQUESTED OUR COOPERATION,
FALLING IN NUMBERS, TOWERS LIKE CANDLES, THE WALL WHERE THE WORLD ONCE ENDED..
well, that's all for this week.. comments, album suggestions?
:: Spoz 11:44 PM |