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Attila – Villain

Set to the tune of aggressive, in-your-face, unfiltered ghettocore, Attila is definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone.

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Atlanta deathcore band Attila are no stranger to controversy. They are in a word, offensive. Not that it bothers them in the slightest. Front man Chris Fronzak is a giant heat magnet, and the band’s music doesn’t apologize for who they are and what they like. Their sound is a hailstorm of chugga chugga riffs, heavy breakdowns, glass shattering screams, and scattered hip hop infusion. Perhaps the ultimate test for a band like Attila then, is to see how it stacks up in the ears of someone who enjoys metalcore, but one who prefers to keep the party boy extravagance out of the picture.

Attila seem to sing about only a few things; women, sex, drugs and partying. Rock n’ roll yes, and distinctly unPC. You have to give points to the band who in this day and age, are unafraid to make the brokeNCYDE version of Motley Crue’s “Girls Girls Girls” music video. This band is also very horny. As songs like “New Addiction” show with its porn audio overlays that make GNR’s “Rocket Queen” sound positively classy. Some songs are just plain awful, and the incessant “bree bree” type vocal screaming becomes quite tedious.

It is however, not all bad, in fact, if you strip some of the layers away you can see that Attila are more than competent musicians. The song “Subhuman” is a damn good song, one that relies more on straight-forward metalcore leanings, and it comes away being the album’s best moment. Proof that if they didn’t lean so hard on the ghetto gangsta money-cars-girls thing, that they could be a lot better than they are. The closer “Bad Habits” is another positive offering, it’s just a shame there isn’t more of it on Villain.

There is an audience for Attila, one that connects to their wildly loose tales of sex, strippers and money. Set to the tune of aggressive, in-your-face, unfiltered ghettocore, it is definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone. They didn’t quite get over the line this time, but there’s some good under the surface. I like offensive, and I like that Attila are offensive. It’s just too bad they aren’t better at it.

(self-released)

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Hatchie – Keepsake

Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars

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Hatchie Keepsake

Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.

There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.

However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.

The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.

(Heavenly Recordings)

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