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Review: Amy Meredith – Restless

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Sydney’s Amy Meredith are unabashedly pop. Finely lined with indie appeal and some of the most accessible dance floor buzz, it’s usually the kind of rock music best suited for the painfully hip. But regardless of their aesthetic, the music has a mesmerizing youthfulness that comes across as earnest and genuine.

Beat heavy single “Lying” is a great indicator of both their addictive qualities and depth in songwriting, while tracks like “Born to Live” and the more reflective tones of “Carry On” are proof of maturation that far exceeds their, for now, limited discography. Only at times do they stumble; “Pornstar” could use a little less synthesizer and “Faded White Dress” is just a little TOO cool.

Yet when they let their love for the moment shine in “Young At Heart”, the band’s underlying magnetism comes through best. The track is essentially perfect and pretension free. It’s quintessentially optimistic, like the waking days and the endless nights of teenage thrills and is every bit the “restless” encapsulation of those youthful years.

Restless is a well knit blend of Temper Trap with Kings of Leon and “Forever Young”, except the appeal is a little more than skin deep. Their dress sense may be a little too indie chic, but their music is every bit you and me. (Sony)

[xrr rating=3/5]

Album Reviews

Review: California X – California X

Sure, it sounds like Dinosaur Jr., but it’s got some Jawbox, some Burning Airlines and some Braid in there along with a lot of its own attitude

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californiaxI am not sure if it is merely coincidence that both California X and Dinosaur Jr. hail from Amherst, MA, but while Dinosaur’s pedigree is an established one, it shouldn’t take long for California X to emulate their more famous city mates. True to form, California X’s love for a heavy guitar riff is something out of the J. Mascis songbook but there’s just something incredibly refreshing and pulsating about this self-titled debut.

38 seconds into the opening salvo of “Sucker” and you get an inkling of what the rest of the record will sound like; a giant wave of grunge-soaked post-rock that has more surprises than it does homages. Take the percussion heavy intro to “Lemmy World’s”; an albatross of a song sonically, but resplendent with pretty melodies and soaring vocals.  “Spider-X” is full tilt rock n’ roll while “Curse Of The Nightmare” has a little Braid in its undercarriage. But it is with “Sucker” that the release really gets you- a mammoth 6.43 long; its slow but ascending nature is what California X is as an album. It is a mostly mesmerizing exercise into turning it loud and letting it loose.

Sure, it sounds like Dinosaur Jr., but it’s got some Jawbox, some Burning Airlines and some Braid in there along with a lot of its own attitude. The only remaining question is: where has this been for the last few years? California X is sludgy, noisy and anthemic; a real pretty kick in the eardrums and it’s been awhile since a thick guitar riff and a melody sounded this good. (Don Giovanni Records)

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Album Reviews

Review: Arrows – Try And Stay Upright

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When things unravel, you search for a way to make sense of the countless thoughts that cloud your mind. There is a fetching quote from a set of lyrics I came across recently that I think is the most accurate summation of this notion. It ends with “So when I finally close my eyes / I’ll find my self control”. These words are the one tangible thing that connects my understanding of the aural connectivity between Arrows’ Try and Stay Upright with the so-called real world.

It makes sense because Try and Stay Upright is fuelled by a sense of loss, and pain, and a lot of questions. Arrows are Australia’s poets of melancholia, taking cues from the likes of the Gloria Record and Mineral, the aching riffs and slow building melodies come down in crashing waves of jilted couplets and serious Midwestern emo/indie introspection. In “Calling Your Sponsor”, vocalist Anthony Morgan ends the alcohol-fuelled letter of loves lost with the piercing kind of heartfelt bitterness;

“Why don’t I feel myself when I’m along through the weeknights or fucking somebody else / I don’t know I guess it’s not your place to say anymore, anyway”

It is an uncontrollable emotion at times, and through the six tracks, Morgan is often trying to make sense of the swirling ideas in his head. He writes about past love that segues into the piano-driven reflection of the title track, about being drunk outside a show before the lyrics swerve into the almost scribbled down words; “so I went for a walk.” Almost as if he needed to break away from the path in which the words and music were taking his thoughts.

“Always With the Leaving” is the album’s grand centrepiece; a monstrous 6+ minute epic that traverses self-doubt, anger, and recovery with a beautiful sense of melodic sadness. There is also a poignant moment in the track; the best, most understated manner in which explains the very existence of all these songs;

“You ask ‘why you gotta write these songs about me?’ / I don’t, you write them for me / I just add the melody”

Try and Stay Upright is a remarkable attempt at making sense of the unravelling. The words are frenzied but the music is serene. We do not know the stories behind the words, and we cannot relate to them on the level in which they do because they are an honest reflection of the moments that inspired them. It is an odd juxtaposition but it is music in its truest form; personal. The best we can do is close our eyes and listen. (Hobbledehoy)

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

AUDIO STREAM: Arrows – “Calling Your Sponsor”
Arrows – “Calling Your Sponsor”

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