We loved ‘Blue State’, the first new single from the band and this one kicks with the same dark intent. Choppy verses that emerge into a widescreen rock chorus that swings like a heavyweight. Shades of QOTSA with a side serving of Fugazi just below the surface.
“’Close to the Edge’ is a commentary on a communication breakdown” states Joel Byrne, “it’s essentially the soundtrack to a really bad argument, in particular the kind that tend to be carried out over social media. The main riff (and overall track) is intentionally a bit nasty and vulgar because it represents the uglier side of people’s personalities that tend to come out in the heat of the moment, particularly when their opinion or ego is challenged.”
The track comes form their forthcoming new album NIL which is set for release on Friday 20 November via Part Time Records / Remote Control.
Psychedelic-tinged music is on the rise in Sydney with bands like The Laurels, Circle Pit and now Cabins utilising its effects. These bands are all including it in their sound in a different way, whether it is adding atmosphere to shoegaze or a garage rock element to punk, they are forgoing straight chords and aggression to create mood based music.
The headliners are of course leading the charge in creating a vibe in their music but first to Cabins. These local lads are slowly making waves and gathering momentum. Their opening slot tonight was a worthy one and they showed they are in control of their songs, pacing them well and knowing when to get a little unhinged and dial up the energy. The frontman displayed a nervous energy with his stuttered and sudden bursts of movement and it was nice to see some keyboard flourishes from him too; drunken saloon piano that added a Bad Seeds dynamic to parts of their set.
The Scare are a band still on the cusp of great things. If they can throw their collective leg over the edge and embrace their potential then they could truly evolve into a great band. Coming onstage in matching white t-shirts with the mysterious handwritten message ‘I Heart Stivvy’, they proceeded to add some danger and chaos to the evening. Their sound is a strange concoction of swampy garage rock, disco and glam – all filtered through post-punk. What sets them aside from others is their willingness to physically embrace the music rather than just playing and preening.
Kiss Reid’s persona is gonzo infectious with his belligerent raps and sing-a-long choruses. He works the crowd like a good frontman should, taking over the dancefloor as well as the stage and generally creating a party out of a regular friday night gig. No Money sound raw and visceral played live and it should be a hit song in any sane world. This band has developed to sound as good as they look.
Wolf & Cub seemed to possess boundless energy to burn, especially guitarist/singer Joel Byrne. He was leaping across the stage, dropping to his knees and throwing shapes like he was working a stadium crowd. Not that that was a bad thing; in a venue like the Oxford Art Factory with its lights and compact space it served to create a rush of movement and fun for their music which can often be of the ‘stand still and sway in a hypnotic trance’ variety.
They played a diverse set that ran from the Primal Scream worshipping Seven Sevens to the fantastic This Mess from 2006’s Vessels. More and more Wolf & Cub are working to shift from their densely psych and krautrock sound to a more richer and at times electronic sounding mood. Byrne seemed to spend little time at the microphone, instead he and the band were focused on the dynamics and rhythms of the music, deftly changing time signatures and flipping from chugging meta rock to teutonic funk at the drop of a coin.
The lack of straightforward song structures sometimes left the crowd feeling disengaged but Wolf + Cub are well versed at knowing when to bring the energy level up and Byrne was a tireless worker of the audience. Bassist Tom Mayhew looked perpetually in his own time zone, lost in the haze and emerging only to take a swig of beer or to exchange gestures with plastic glass throwing troublemakers.
Science And Sorcery is the title of the new album and it is also a fitting description of their live show. They approach their playing with clinical precision but allow enough emotion into the mix to deliver a heady potion that affected the heads as well as the bodies of the audience.
After the disappointing first round of bands anounced for the V Festival – Killers, Razorlight??? – there is some relief with the latest round of offerings that include the brilliant M83, Madness and The Human League. Jenny Lewis is the odd one out in the bunch but it is at least looking like a more rounded festival and definitely a different flavour to the other ones this summer. Variety is the spice of life…
The Human League (performing Dare )
Wolf & Cub