Monday, 29 September 2014

Mirroring Martyr Privates


There's going to be a nasty rumour going round soon that I am in Martyr Privates, such is the blanket love I have given their debut album of late. Having written the review of it for both The Music in Australia and The Quietus in the UK, suffice to say that I am a fan. Not much else needs to be said that I haven't already written. That said, I thought Id fling a couple sentences together to try and explain why I like it. Because Martyr Privates is in some ways derivative; in other ways wholly unimaginative. Because opinion is so subjective, it seems apt yet also trite for me to say that their influences are fine when I often lambast other bands for wearing their influences so blatantly and carefree. The difference here is the playability factor. When I first listened to the album I thought the Brisbane trio of Cam Hawes, Ashleigh Shipton and Sam Dixon had captured their live persona well, but it was still that heady pastiche of downer rock and shoegaze space oddity that made them familiar and yet innately alien, at least on the Australian music scene. But the more I listened to tracks like 'You Can't Stop Progress' and 'Something To Sell' I realised the influences that came to bear - Kitchens Floor, Spiritualized, The Black Angels, Spacemen 3 - were just as refracted from the worldview of the trio. Martyr Privates is dipped liberally in the shoegaze psych mould, but it isn't a part of such wide-ranging genres either. As elegantly wasted as 'Rope & Tarp' is, this is a Hawes original, not a Pierce cast off; as much as 'Somebody's Head' lurks in the shadows of the Passover of The Black Angels, they aren't squatting at the foot of the table scrounging for scraps. There is a otherworldly vibrancy and dour desperation that always stands at loggerheads within the band - the engine forcing the machine forward yet refusing to make allegiances easy. It won't be the best album of the year; it may not even make the list. But it is the best Martyr Privates album of 2014, which actually says a hell of a lot.

Martyr Privates is out through Bedroom Suck and Fire Records - grab it here and here respectively.

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