Thursday, 7 November 2013
Beloved New Gods In The Caravan Park
One of my favourite all-time novels is Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I only read it for the first time last year (thanks A-Rey). The idea of the gods of ancient civilisations being brought to America, only to be lost as their followers turned away from them and focused on other democratic forms such as money, media and celebrity - and this devotion has in turn created new gods. It's an incredibly evocative alternate world that Gaiman creates (anyone interested in his fantasy creations, especially The Sandman brace of comics, will know what to expect) and I implore anyone and everyone to read it.
New Gods has formed out of the ashes of Little Red (remember them? no?) with other members from Eagle & the Worm and the Ground Components, and the new guise has galvanised their efforts tenfold. The debut album Beloved (which you can download for free) contains enough references to older rock gods of the 90s before turning their backs on them to focus on other, as-yet-unnameable entities, yet coalescing it all around base Australian experiences and emotions. It has this discombobulating effect where the songs languish in dappled light and half-shadows, yet a warmth emanates that makes them imminently entrancing. Dom Byrne's esoteric-yet-obtuse lyricism accentuates this effusive realm that the instrumentation builds, yet it is all in the epic central song 'Caravan Park' that we see the band effectively take all they know dear from the old gods - the quiet/loud dynamism, heartfelt aesthetics, ruminative slacker pop - and throw it into a opaque blender, pouring the contents all over working-class suburbia and the outer fringe. The Gothic detritus that infiltrates this track - essentially a spotlight on the aimless, destructive, ultimately inescapable ennui of a lost youth in the titular park - is so palpable that it plays out like a darkly skewed reinterpretation of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The Caravan Park of Bogan Delights, if you will. It's an incredible song (with a nice rhyming couplet with Fruity Lexia, "heaven in a cask"), the beacon on what is a surprisingly hypnotic album with the power to capture the senses. Like the "true" gods, then.
You can buy Beloved here, and you can stream/download it with a interactive photographic slideshow here.