ALBUM REVIEW: Beaches – Second Of Spring

Beaches 2017

Beaches go into overdrive on their new seventeen track album. It’s their magnum opus of sorts, taking everything they’ve explored on the first two albums and synthesising it into one kaleidoscopic take on all things psychedelic.

The album opens with two relentlessly churning tracks that set the stage for what is to follow. It signals their intent to push further out into the sonic aether, bridging the gap between melodic noisy pop hooks and hypnotic guitar-drenched head trips. Void is a brighter, headlong take on Wooden Shjips, psych-Kraut interstellar explorations while on track four they ease up on the gas and introduce chiming guitars, a post-punk interlude and a back half that sounds like The Primitives jamming with Look Blue Go Purple. Calendar sounds like a lost Pixies outtake with its mix of raw grind and dreamy vocals while Wine dives and shimmers like Crazy Horse doing shoegaze.

Arrow is the headiest pop rush the quintet have conjured up, the perfect nugget for the approaching warmer months and it feels like the apex of Second Of Spring. In the back third Bronze Age Babies adds a surprise with a recorder voicing the main melody before Grey Colours takes a gloriously melancholic wander that Robert Smith would be proud of. There’s a lot to take in but it’s an endlessly rewarding and freewheeling album for a band who are the equal sum of their parts and eager to explore all musical possibilities.

Chris Familton

 

NEW MUSIC: The Goon Sax – Up To Anything

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Brisbane trio The Goon Sax are about to release their debut LP via Chapter Music in a couple of weeks. Here’s the title track Up To Anything, a song that hits the right spots for us – a bass line reminiscent of The Bats,  the delightfully doleful vocal style of Louis Forster and brisk, economical and snappy drums. It’s a melancholic pop song par excellence. The band are playing a run of East Coast shows in April.

Sat Apr 2 – SYDNEY – Newtown Social Club – tickets
Sat Apr 9 – MELBOURNE – The Tote Hotel – tickets
Sat Apr 30 – BRISBANE – Trainspotters – tickets on the door

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Ancients | Night Bus

Rating8square-600-2The third album from Melbourne’s The Ancients is a record that hurtles, ambles and breezes by with equal amounts of intricate musicality and simple skewed-pop broad strokes. There is a wistful 60s folk tinge to songs like House of Cards, the lighter contrast to their more layered and dense psych excursions such as the shoegaze haze of Hamster and the epic Molokai that manages to sound like Boo Radleys, High Llamas and Ariel Pink all at the same time. Ultimately Night Bus is a gorgeous, wide-ranging melancholic pop album that embraces sonic friction, frayed edges and melodic beauty with equal aplomb.

Chris Familton

Night Bus is out now on Chapter Music

this review was first published in The Music

NEW MUSIC: Geoffrey O’Connor | Jacqueline

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I first saw Geoffrey O’Connor in a garish woollen jumper playing with Crayon Fields at the Hopetoun Hotel. They impressed with their twee indie guitar pop, it was knowingly constructed, literate music, the sum of its parts. Fast forward to the 2012 Laneway Festival and the pasty bespectacled man in front of me was the same guy sans woolly jersey. Now O’Connor was ostensibly solo, working the stage and delivering richly-voiced and melancholic electronic dream pop. It worked, it worked wonderfully. O’Connor released his solo debut LP Vanity in 2011 and also did a wonderful guest appearance on Melodie Nelson’s LP Meditations On The Sun. Now, ahead of his second album he has released the first single Jacqueline (on Chapter Music), a song delicately perched between pastiche and honest 80s swoon pop. It works, it works wonderfully, both in terms of the conviction he brings to the song, his perfectly poised vocals and a real knack for drama that never overflows into melodrama.

Jacqueline is available now on Bandcamp. The digital release will also include remixes by Club Feet and Ben Browning (of Cut Copy). The new Geoffrey O’Connor album will be out in 2014 and Crayon Fields also have a new LP planned.

The opening bars/beats of Jacqueline also remind me of Nik Kershaw’s Dancing Girls which is a good thing.

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NEW MUSIC: Beaches | Send Them Away

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Melbourne quartet Beaches return with their second album She Beats, out May 3rd on the ever excellent Chapter Music label. Their debut was a brilliant mix of bittersweet psychedelic rock woth shades of krautrock and jangly guitar pop. They’ve refined that mix even further on their new single Send Them Away which sounds very reminiscent of New Zealand’s The Bats. I’m really looking forward to getting hold of the new LP on vinyl as their debut still gets plenty of plays. Look out for them on tour in May/June.

  • Friday May 31 – Hobart, Brisbane Hotel
  • Saturday June 1 -Melbourne, Northcote Social Club with Bushwalking + Early Woman + DJ Lady Shakes
  • Friday June 14 – Brisbane, Black Bear Lodge
  • Saturday June 15 – Sydney, Goodgod Small Club with Songs + The Friendsters + DJ Jack Mannix

Check out the equally ace video directed by  Ben Montero and edited by Rosie Adams.

ALBUM REVIEW: Dick Diver | New Start Again

written by Chris Familton

It is somewhat unavoidable when it comes to making comparisons between the new Dick Diver and Twerps albums as both have been released at the same time on Melbourne’s Chapter Music and both share a style that strongly echoes the music being made in New Zealand and particularly Dunedin in the 1980s. Variously the ghost of The Bats, The Clean, The Chills and from farer afield Television and Pavement all cast a shadowy veil across the LP. Twerps have taken a woollier and more organic approach with their album while Dick Diver are a shade grittier in their textures and quietly muscular and explorative in their delivery.

Guitars chime and jangle all over this debut record and yet it never descends into aimless noodling. There are clear and succinct arrangements that only allow the necessary requirements to be included. Opener Through The D tumbles and rolls along with gorgeous sparkling notes dotting the primitive rhythm section like sunspots. Hammock Days is a lazy sunday afternoon Sonic Youth jam in terms of the guitars that introduce the song while they can still lift the intensity as they do to stunning effect on the six minute centre-piece and Neil Young-esque sonic epic Flying Teatowel Blues. There is little in the way of flash and overplayed hands in anything the quartet do and that is what makes the whole LP such an intimate treat.

Vocally Dick Diver are on a downbeat, backseat trip. Everything is lazily delivered, slightly off tune (in a good way) and often on the verge of descending into slacker-toned spoken word. It suits the subject matter perfectly as they sing about things like moving town, concluded relationships, hanging out and getting your shit together. The standout track is On The Bank. It works lyrically, melodically and has a melancholic feel that just buries itself in your memory bank. They throw some slide guitar into the mix and imbue the song with swelling and retreating dynamics that make you just want to hit repeat the second it finishes. Elsewhere the bass line and mantra groove of Head Back is a highlight as are moments in every other song across the record.

Sonically the production on New Start Again perfectly complements their music. Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Total Control is the man behind the sound and he has done well to capture a warm, lush recordings without sacrificing the unfettered way the band play their instruments. You can hear fingers on strings, the rattles in the kit and it feels like a band in a room rather than a constructed group of audio layers. This is honest music played with minimal fuss and it holds the listeners attention across all ten tracks – a testament to the strength of Dick Diver’s writing and compositional restraint.

this review was first published on The Dwarf

LISTEN: Dick Diver | On The Bank