One of the most intimate and exciting venues to rise up in Brisbane over the last decade, The Waiting Room, sadly closed its doors last year. In a city renowned for closing venues before they really get a chance to flourish, the three years it had been open is something of a miracle – a glorified house party a few nights a week in West End, albeit with a good sound system and PA, a caring and passionate management and staff, BYO sensibilities and communal goodwill permeated every show. And there were some stellar shows – from Mt. Eerie making a pleasantly unexpected visit to many great local and interstate acts getting in on the love. Two of my favourite shows ever that took place in that 80-person venue involved Auckland three-piece God Bows To Math, one of the most underrated bands in the Southern Hemisphere. Their serrated buzzsaw of a self-titled album blew the membranes out of the inner linings of my mind back in 2011 - the engine room of Thomas Morrison (drums) and Sam Cussen (bass) pounding incessantly and Martin Phillips’ barked, acerbic lyrics and dessicated guitar melts.
I have been extremely lucky to have a penultimate master of their follow up Brighter Futures on my laptop for the past few months, and FINALLY I have the final version and the album is hitting the world with a sledgehammer subtlety and cathartic charm. The thing is, it is when there is a measured stasis, a crawl, a breath taken, that the atmosphere and intensity is ratcheted up tenfold – the sample and two minute intro to ‘1999 Doomsday’ and the tempered vocals and skeletal instrumentation that eats its own tail in ‘Moral Prophylaxis’ are anxiety eaters, so that when the impending doom and destruction finally hit it is gargantuan in scope and precision. Even the brutally succinct ‘Munchausen’, which barely cracks a minute in length, opens with a quarter minute of near silence. The Sonic Youth and Shellac comparison I initially held with the trio still holds some weight, but Brighter Futures showcases a rougher hewn angularity, emotional expulsion and exorcism. ‘High Strings’ for some reason reminded me of My Disco, Jakob and a more unwound Unwound simultaneously – the insidious bass, the gravelly vocals that bleed into something more ephemeral, the instrumental groove, pummelling drums… All of which comes to an end on ‘Oil of Vitriol’, a strange track that brings back all these through lines and balls them up into a compacted whole.
Grab Brighter Futures (out through Muzai Records) here. Support these guys, stat.