Friday 29 May 2015

The Eclectic Collection Of Currawongs

I can't suppose to know much about Brisbane band The Currawongs, other than Chris from Dollar Bar knows them. Their album Cracticidae came out late last year, and it's a shame I hadn't heard about this before setting the lineup for this year's Sonic Masala Fest - because I really really like this. The soft sepulchral instrumental 'The Return' is a wondrous opener, that bleeds into the atmospheric 'Lessons In Avoidance' with the crashing cymbals an exercise in foreboding. 'Having Fun Harms No One' is a thrashy bit of in-the-red noise, before the contemplative title track bleeds in, a lo(wer) fi Gaslight Radio with added debilitating distortion drowning out the subtleties - it's these deliberate acts of sabotage that bizarrely lends an further layer of intimacy. The accordion is broken out for the quirky Teutonic melancholia of ten-minute 'The Ghosts of Menin Gate' while the found-sound juxtaposition of a kookaburra and an aeroplane gives the right amount of bucolic apprehension to 'Off The Grid.' The dirge rock returns for 'The Elephant In The Room'; the shuffling gait of 'Hold You Back' is surreptitious in its atmospheric beauty and precarious balancing act, teetering magnificently in the last moments; a nihilistic drone fills out 'Department of Human Resources'; and then stumps are pulled with 'Duck Egg Blue', a rustic folksy outro that is as haunted by half-truths as the rest of the album. The drums are incidentally provided on the album by Cam Smith (Ghost Notes, Tape/Off, Spirit Bunny, Tiny Spiders, et al) who also recorded, mixed and mastered the album at Incremental Studios, while Adam Cadell (The Scrapes) lends his violin to 'Off The Grid'. It's eclectic, to be sure, but Cracticidae is a wonderful album that is in places quite stunning. The imperfections make it all the more endearing. Apparently The Currawongs have a second album in the wings - I cannot wait to hear it. Buy Cracticidae here.

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