Album Review: MAKING – HIGHLIFE

CoverWhere were you a year ago? I’ll tell you where I was – knee deep in rejection, working an unpaid internship, and having nervous breakdowns in the best nightclubs that Kings Cross had to offer. “HOLY SHIT!”, I would scream internally, “HOW THE FUCK IS ANYBODY SUPPOSED TO LIKE THIS”, splashing a $17 craft beer down my hot pink shirt that myself and all the boyz were wearing. Salmon flavoured colour co-ordination is the name of the fucking game, amirite? How else are you supposed to let everyone know that you’re a fuckwit?

That might sound awful, but it was nowhere near as bad as what MAKING were going through. Picture this: you’ve been around for bloody yonks. You’ve released an EP, a single, and everything’s looking great. Every weekend is spent with your buds at Blackwire Records, netted between those signature bear claws, slaying the very concept of rock like you’re Braveheart, and other bands are the English. You’ve headed to your mate’s studio (word is he’s going to be doing some work with Miley Cyrus) and there’s a label that wants to put out your record. Your debut album! On vinyl! That’s the dream! Everything’s coming up Milhouse!

You sit there, waiting and waiting. Man, it’s been a while, hey – when are those records getting delivered? It’s getting kinda late, but you don’t want to take a nap, in case you miss the delivery man. You call your guy….no answer. That’s weird? You’re sitting there, and panic sets in. What’s happening? Where is your record? What the fuck? All that hard work, all that effort…for nothing. When tossing up between being an absolute slice of shit in the Cross and seeing your life’s work disappear, I’ll be too busy slipping into the grossest shirt I can find and planning the route of my hektik  night through Sydney’s drainage system to give an answer.

Thankfully, Melbourne’s TRAIT Records saw logic, and the travesty of having this album un-released. Now, MAKING’s debut is here in all it’s glory. I say glory, because that’s what it is. There isn’t a whole lot out there like this album. Not much anyway. Think of the unconventional pacing of At The Drive-In clashing with the tumultuous noise of Lightning Bolt and unnerving aggression of Shellac. Throw in some casual influence that comes from witnessing/performing amongst the incredible scene that exists in Sydney, from Tanned Christ to Yes, I’m Leaving, to Totally Unicorn, and you get MAKING.

There are so many aspects of ‘HIGHLIFE’ to admire. The drums, for example –  you’re slammed from every angle like the villains of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, completely swarmed by pecking cymbals and clanging feathers. But the guitars! They are so wrung out, melodies switching and interchanging with equal nuance and menace, wringing your neck at one moment, and gently swallowing you in the next.DON’T FORGET THE BASS! The rhythm section pokes and prods surgically, manoeuvring each track here with the deadly precision of the doctor from The Human Centipede.

By far the best aspect of MAKING’s work is their calm before the storm approach. However, the difference between the cliche and the terror that MAKING exhibit is that there is always that expectation that the band will soon engage in a full-blown head crushing saga. The overall atmosphere is like being in the middle of a pool of sharks, bleeding and alone. The terror isn’t your immediate threat, but rather the waiting, that prolonged sense of doom. It’s like if that movie “Open Water” was made with a band that made one of the most interesting heavy albums of 2015 instead of a Great White. Although most deafeningly showcased on “Come To Me”, the effect is witnessed throughout the record, whether on a smaller scale with the pulsing long-distance ooze of “Amazon”, or “Dream Job”, in which shrill brutality is deployed for solely destructive purposes, an Agent Orange level of suffocating musical gas choking out the listener.

MAKING’s journey for the release of this album was a long one. Very long. But shit, don’t you reckon it was worth it? Not only does a salmon-shirt-wearing, deplorable piece of shit like me get to listen to this record, but so can everyone else. Miracles happen you guys, miracles happen. Immersive, impressive and forever brutal, MAKING’s ‘HIGHLIFE’ has scared the fucking shit out of me, and I couldn’t be happier.

‘HIGHLIFE’ will be out September 4th, on TRAIT Records. Pre-order here. They’re playing Blackwire for the album launch: September 11th with Marcus Whale, Mere Women and BV (put it together, ya numbskull)

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