Album Review: Spookyland – Beauty Already Beautiful

12919768_10154036088627416_145691689307802205_n

The first time I heard Spookyland, I didn’t get it. Weird voice, skyrocketing guitars, overtly epic atmosphere – why is everyone losing their shit over this? Spookyland was the sort of band that folks were going out of their way to tell you about, regaling you with tales of this skinny Sydney lad sporting high cheekbones and a heavy leather jacket, who could hold a crowd in the palm of his hand. I’d chuck on “The Silly Fucking Thing”, and I couldn’t see it.

Then, after one fateful night at The Lansdowne, it clicked. Whatever piece was previously missing snapped into place for me, and I was on board the Spookyland bandwagon. It was the same phenomenon that had occurred with some of my favourite bands like Radiohead and The Birthday Party; one second, you’re pissed off that none of it makes sense, and then the band manages to inject something that allows you to immerse into the crowd of believers, the cult of Good ShitTM.

For me, what it comes down to is the power that Spookyland exude. It’s not the same sort of power that’d you’d get from a Stooges or a Metallica record, but something more sophisticated. It’s thought out, developing over the course of a song, so that by the time Marcus Gordon and co. hit their finale, your spine is bent permanently out of place. It’s the way that voice twists and turns, reverting from mourning to triumphant in the space of a verse and chorus; how the guitars crash and burn like the sea in the grips of that 1000 Year Swell that Patrick Swyaze always spoke about.

There’s a nice range on Beauty Already Beautiful, but Spookyland always manage to retain a definitive style. They range from the cymbal-crash, lip-curled country swagger of “Big Head” and “Can’t Own You”, to the more poignant moments of “True”, to the glowing anthems of “God’s Eyes” and “Champions”, which show off Spookyland’s strength in holding their strengths to their chests and picking the absolute right moment to unleash hellishly good moments. And let’s not forget about the fucking one-two-fuck-you of “Bulimic” that doesn’t just knock you out cold, but pummels you into the dust. Two – read it, fucking TWO – minutes of unrelenting shredding, each note reaching right through your soul and individually tugging at the hairs that course your body in an effort to say, “OI, ARE YOU LISTENING TO THIS!??? HOW GOOD IS IT!????”

Spookyland have got their signature style down to a T. It’s delivered in a spectacular and unique fashion, and when they reach that bit further, you’d be hard pressed to find a dry eye in the room. Don’t be a fool – if you don’t get it, don’t wait around like I did for these blokes to come around and smack you in the face with the Good ShitTM. Sit down, put the headphones on, and make sure that this band rattles your being to the core like I know they can.

Also their highly recommended live show is coming to Sydney and Melbourne, with the extra punch of YEEVS opening both shows. Spooky land play the Newtown Social Club tonight (11 May), and tomorrow at Shebeen.

Advertisements

New: Middle Kids – Edge of Town

13118956_824130961026180_4257803287934940724_n

A few weeks back, I was walking past my boss’ office on my way to assault a plate of nachos, when all of a sudden, I heard the kind of song that forces you to let a plate of Doritos slathered in mild salsa go to the dogs. It was this indie rock track that belied all the other shit I’d heard recently, led by a voice that would be enough for Angel Olsen to up and leave it all behind.

It was a brilliant, exuberant and cathartic release, a real chiropractic sort of song in that when your neck snaps 180 degrees to discover more about it, you end up fixing that spinal fracture you’ve held since last year’s footy season. A few bars in, I was hooked.

“Mate, what the fuck is this?”, I exclaimed, whilst holding a serrated blade to his throat. “It’s Middle Kids! It’s the fucking Middle Kids!”, he cried, eyes rolling around his head in a panic. I pressed the knife a little closer, the threat demanding more.  “I can’t give it to you yet, it’s not meant to be officially released for another couple of weeks!”. Blood trickled from the wound I was slowly sealing into his flesh. Normally, I’d just add the body to my tally of foes that had crossed me in the past. But with those vocals soaring above me – I don’t know. Ya can’t commit a cold-blooded murder in the middle of such a beautiful song. Ya just can’t.

Cold steel clanged to the ground of the cubicle. “When this finally hits the Internet….you let me know”. And with that, my obsession with Middle Kids, as well as a termination notice from my old work, had begun.

Video: Zone Out – Breakdown

13047716_1070705879634257_7089377382338443207_o

I know what you’re thinking: if you had to join a cult, it’d obviously be Scientology for all those sweet celebrity hook ups, right? Well, you make a great point, but before you see your soul to Xenu, take a look at this strong contender:

Here’s the 411: the cult is called Zone Out, it’s located in Melbourne, and although it’s small, their numbers are growing in strength every day. The promotional video above counts an extra six members who have been pulled in by the two founders charismatic charms and promises of glory.

Also, the uniform is tops – whilst Mormons are stuck with rejected Game of Thrones outfits, Zone out provides their members with Steve Zissou beanies and colourful sweatshirts. Did I mention that all they do is hang out at the beach all day and listen to dreamy pop music created by their genius founders? Yeah, do yourself a favour and sign up to the world’s greatest cult right here.

PREMIERE: Library Siesta – My Valentine

11953220_1206219406070527_5463084200725497004_n

As a small child, I was involved in a traffic accident that scarred me for the rest of my life. I was at Woolies, right between dairy and fruit, cruising in the infant section of the shopping trolly. It was a T-300 model, to be precise. Anyway, my fuckstick of a brother decided it would be hilarious to thrust the trolly into light speed, forcing it beyond a controllable momentum. Sure, the first few seconds were fun, possibly even thrilling. But when the milk section started looming closer and closer, I knew that my life was about to change. I was the Titanic, on course to hit an immovable iceberg. The crash couldn’t have been more melodramatic if James Cameron had directed it himself. Now, whenever I pass a supermarket of any sort – Coles, Woolies, shit, even IGA – a shiver propels itself through my spine, and I can taste the drip of low-fat cow products coursing their way down my cheek. It’s still hard to know where the milk stopped and the tears began.

However, if there was anything that was going to shock my trollyphobia out of me, it’d probably be this new clip from Library Siesta. “My Valentine”, a track ripped from their great debut Future Haunts, takes a Go Pro, an abandoned trolley and LS’s irrepressible charm, and combines them with a bunch of You Am I-inspired guitar solos. It’s a helluva time, and enough to think that maybe…maybe…I’ll be ready to face my fears and buy moderately priced veggies without having a nervous breakdown.