THE SLOW PUSH — Misshapen Giants
PETE WALSH observes the only-too-apparent colonial roots of the Brisbane music scene.
Following up their 2009 debut, Brisbane quintet The Slow Push drop another genre-defying full-length — Misshapen Giants, which falls prey to currently-dominating bands and the strange new wave/indie-rock/synthpop/dance pastiche. Frontman Chris Hetherington’s vocals instantly make my spidey-senses tingle: he sounds like a panorama of Robert Smith, Kele Okereke and Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson.
Sitting on a bedrock of ‘indie’ influences with a dash of electro-synth tomfoolery, the album opener Curtain Call is a little slow and meandering; however, enter Monstredature and its bizarre manipulation of Gary Numan/Kraftwerk-esque synths, and you have yourself a modern-day chimera that’s at once alienating and alluring. Previously-released singles Lions and Maybe You’re A Myth feel almost siren-like at times: the interplay of ‘80s-style synth work and indie-rock drums becomes near-mesmeric, with heavily-synthesised, reverberating basslines tying the album together nicely. Combine this with a playful penchant for stammered-out, staccato-d guitar sections, and you have all the right ingredients for something beyond copycat indie-pop-rock that seems to be all the rage these days.
Misshapen Giants leaves me with a disturbing ambivalency — never before have I loved and loathed an album in such equal amounts, although this will at least be going on my “bitchin’ Brissie bands” playlist.
PETE WALSH is an ex-Rave contributor and vagrant writer as well as a bit of a literati, music aficionado and coffee snob.