New: The Rangoons – Cult of Thorns

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I very vividly remember watching The Rangoons playing this at the Marrickville Bowlo a few months back and thinking, “Wow – this band is cool”. Not in the way that sleeping in is cool, or finding a new cheap pork roll shop is cool. I mean cool in that what you’re witnessing is above and beyond you. It’s cool in that you feel like you’re peering into some sort of secret society that has its own rituals and habits. There’s an excitement and a rush to it, discovering something that you aren’t supposed to. I watched The Rangoons, still and quite but bubbling underneath, close to erupting, as the band rolled the words “Which” and “Witch”, around their mouths, spitting them over a cerebral guitar lines.

The song I heard that day now has a name, “Cult of Thorns”, and an official Internet release as of yesterday. Recorded, The Rangoons have maintained that itching paranoia that contaminates the live version, a subdued serial killer edge of mania smothering the song. I was right the first time – The Rangoons are one of the coolest bands in Australia.

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New: The Rangoons – A Postcard From Rangoon Island

Hardly anything about this album makes sense – The Rangoons are entirely unpredictable in the truest sense of the word. Absolutely anything can appear, popping up like a gopher to look around quizzically, only to replaced just as quickly with another furry monstrosity. This quality, along with the fact that all three members have put in the hard yards in a few of Sydney’s most unique projects, has made The Rangoons a group worthy of rabid adoration.

Formed between Emma Ramsay (Holy Balm), Ela Stiles (Roamin’ Catholics, Songs, Bushwalking) and Jay Cruikshank (Home Run), The Rangoons resemble something far different than the aforementioned projects. There’s no real ‘thing’ that overlaps the recordings on this tape – it jumps around, a schizophrenic pogostick of ideas being mashed together in a blender of mushy genres.

The opening six minutes of “The Bath of Rangoon Island” utilises spindly guitars, perky flutes and riffs upon a stream-of-conscious that recalls a forgotten TV adventure show from the 60’s, albeit one more in lieu with the delirious strangeness Danger 5 or Saul of the Mole Men.

“Two Minds” and “Crimewave” follow – more traditional rock affairs, although the word ‘traditional’ fits in the same way that ‘family man’ would be used to describe Charles Manson. Throttling disortion, tribal chants, and lyrical ridiculousness are all par for the course. The tape finishes with the two-for-one deal of “Lunatic/Shadow”, which transforms from tickling, ambivalent pop to a speedy, crunchy thwack of amateur adrenaline. Best of all, there’s some truly disturbing words recited here (“Ela said she’d get me a gun/She knows I’m not well/Then I’ll shoot that boy in the leg/When he comes to ring your bell DING DONG!”) but they’re delivered with such joyful ambivalence, it inspires the urge to giggle rather than call a mental health line. For a band who have only been around a short time, and played a handful of shows, The Rangoons debut material is surprisingly well-rounded, exotic, and most importantly, interesting as hell.

Buy the tape from Paradise Daily Bandcamp here