The Adelaide music scene: to many of you it might be little more than a touring speed bump between Melbourne and Perth but to us it's a way of life. Feast within, on all its dysfunctioning splendour, as we bring you the highly satirical, laughingly fictional and intellectually imbecile tales from our rock & roll wasteland...
Although calling them "indie electro" is a sweeping generalisation at best (or wildy innacurate at worst to all you trainspotters who surely know better) so lemme clarify. Collarbones are purveyors of a curious hybrid between electronica and pop that could be loosely described as "glitch-pop". It first appeared in the late 90's as "glitch" (see: Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Autechre). Became wildly fashionable in the early 00's... the minute electroclash suddenly became wildly unfashionable (see: Chicks On Speed) by marrying the "glitch" with R&B and hiphop. Only to all but disappear a few short years later when it's more obvious cousin "bastard pop" (aka: mashup) suddenly became stupidly popular (see: 2 Many DJs "As Heard On Radio Soulwax Part 2" or Dangermouse's "The Grey Album"). Only for THAT movement to all but die in the arse (see: Linkin Park Vs. Jay-Z) as much as "glitch-pop" never truly went away at all, or EVER became unfashionable... we just never got invited to all their parties (as much as I DID once back in 2004 at Rhino Room and it confused the crap out of me). Or in other words if you're STILL furiously scratching your head there? think any of the following artists and/or albums: Radiohead's "Kid A"/"Amnesiac", Bjork's "Vespertine", Flying Lotus's "Cosmogramma", and the special kind of batshit insanity that could only ever thrive on iconic UK label, Warp. Think clicking, studdering beats, shrill dialtones, eerie 50's B-grade sci-fi synths and even weirder falsetto vocals warbling about over the top of it. Think bucket bongs colliding with red bulls over a few too many hours spent on a SNES. And all that reinterpretted in a slightly more accessible R&B direction...? is Collarbones in one. Which obviously must make both Travis Cook and Marcus Whale the most batshit boring band to watch live if it takes something THAT fucking convoluted to describe them? but they actually aren't half bad for stage presence tonight. And by "stage presence" I obviously mean at least one of them at any given time is doing something slightly more "exciting" with the arm waving, knob tweaking and singing OTHER than frowning at a screen and micromanaging their itunes. In fact they make for quite the lively duo. Travis on the left appears to cover most of the production duties: working his laptop sequencer and a sample pad combo through a kitchen sink of knobbers and tweakers, taking the occassional pause to brush his ridiculously long assymetrical fringe out of his face, only to squint nervously at the grinning jackass who's currently taking photos of him (who me?). But the real head trip here is Marcus on the right who acts as their defacto "front man". And it's not so much for his ridiculous overabundance of energy: in how he's so giddy high strung bouncing off the walls, punching circles and mad grinning it's like he's going toe to toe with an invisible Mohammad Ali and winning; but more his curious approximation of a "singing voice". Duuude IT IS THE FREAKIEST SHIT EVER!! It's like hearing someone sing through all the wild extremes of puberty compressed into 45 minutes, passed through a helium balloon and then processed through one those T-Pain autotune apps you can get on your iphone; it's SO totally wrong it's fucking hypnotic (to the point you swear you can't get enough of it) and it's definitely what saves this band from being little more than a trainspotting obssession for 4chan trolls to fap over whilst freeze framing sex scenes in Japanese schoolgirl manga (wait... is there any other kind?). Yup that's Collarbones. They've got a pleasingly off-kilter sense for melody, an intricate origami carcrash composition that engages on more than one level and a curiously extraterrestrial grasp for the damn near accessible; so as much as it might seem like the very definition of hipster wank too? at least you don't really need to "pretend" to like it.
And here I am rocking a spastic "emo fringe"... as you do.
Which inevitably leads to Jules skitzing the fuck out over said "emo fringe" (well shit... wouldn't you?). And no I don't have the first foggiest clue WHO that is photobombing us in the background (or why it appears that we're both behind the bar while she's clearly standing in front of it) but aren't we SO thankful that she did? no shit... she balances out the composition and everything!