2 out of 5
Label: Joyful Noise
Produced by: Aaron Cupples
Sure! This is your right to produce extended, go-nowhere jams! And while that might not sound bad as produced by Tropical Fuck Storm’s Gareth Liddard (guitar, vocals), Dirty Three’s Jim White (drums), and the Necks’ Chris Abrahams (keys), the group’s loosey-goosey anarchy poetry-rock is pushed to limits of tolerability on the two main tracks here – another Ian Duhig’s words-set-to-music jam The Names of the Plague; nonsense narrative The Radicalisation Of D – and then we’re reminded of more successful variations of this sound on the (much shorter) live track, Penumbra.
That last song is, essentially, a compressed version of Plague: a slow, jazz-flecked buildup to intense noise barrage and Liddard yelling, kept within the borders of rhythm by White’s drums and Abrahams controlled playing. This is an excellent track (a bandcamp commentator mentioned it as a cross-section of styles for readers of The Wire and The Picture – the latter, to a non-Aussie, a Maxim-like mag – which is pretty funny), but since it was released prior to this EP, and also live, it feels more like a bonus, the 35 minutes of the other two songs moreso what’s making up my rating. …Although I’d note that the LP sequences this song after Plague on the A-side – digital sets it last – which just kinda drives home how much more listenable it is versus the opener’s repetition: the source poem used for the lyrics is already just a list of phrases, and the song goes through multiple cycles of the exact same build and release, which is cool the first time, then the momentum is killed with a wandering interstitial before the trio does it again, and again, and it’s interesting how the utter rampage of those releases is rendered moot when it reproduced nigh-exactly several minutes later.
Radicalisation is the drone-like buddy of this, hitting a very Necks-y chill of tapped percussion and light instrumentation as Liddard rambles on about ‘D’, and, like watching TV. I’m sure there’s more meaning here than I understand, but to my dumb ears, this exists in this weird nether realm of being neither poignant or amusing.
This is such a promising trio that I know we’re down for this type of experimentation, but I am hoping this EP gets these odder tendencies out of the way for something a bit more streamlined to follow.