Six years is a long time between drinks, but if there was ever a band whose next drink was going to knock you out in a swirling fury of whiskey and melodic hardcore, it’s A Wilhelm Scream. Partycrasher, all pummelling guitars, soaring melodies and machine gun percussions, is what you’ve come to expect and know of the band; but distilled in six years worth of pent up material.
From the opening salvo of “Boat Builders”, it is clear that the band haven’t lost a step. Few contemporaries mix technical ability with attitude as well as they do. And without breaching the boundaries of pretension, songs like “The Last Laugh” shred and showcase musical chops in equal parts (also see the opening to “Ice Man Left A Trail”). AWS are still damn good at blending that razor fast transition between uptempo verses and even faster choruses, and songs like “Devil Don’t Know” continue that trademark AWS songwriting canon.
“Gut Sick Companion” floors it with the high-flying solos while “Hairy Scarecrow” takes a turn down the more traditional melodic hardcore route. The latter has got elements of everything from 88 Fingers Louie to early Ten Foot Pole and the brash, snotty attitude of RKL.
What’s bad about this album? If you had to pick something, probably that it took six damn years to do.
On the even further upside; one can run through the gamut of journalistic cliches to describe this album. Any of the following would work:
– The greatest thing since someone decked Glen Danzig
– The greatest album ever by a band that was once called Smackin’ Isaiah
– The best thing to listen to after going to The Fest
– Album Of The Year
A Wilhelm Scream still wipe their ass with this musicbiz thing. Partycrasher is brand new album, same great band.
(No Idea Records)
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
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.