When you saw that folk tag above this, you probably thought of an earthy looking guy (or bunch) just strumming away on their trusty guitar(s) on a porch, where the aroma of coffee (or liquor, depending on what time of day it is) is permeating in to the very air they sing unto. You saw something along those lines – a peaceful scene. Well… that’s not the case with Lower Plenty. The Australian band took your buddy, folk, in to a dark room and smacked him around a bit after drugging his drink. This sounds like the product of an opiate cocktail intravenously entering your buddy, folk and the results are beautiful in the most melancholic sense. In less than half an hour, Lower Plenty will have you inhaling every last ember of a pipe chock-full of despair and chaos. The record can showcase the band’s ability to work together and the product of (purposeful) uncooperation and quite frankly, this might be the best folk record I’ve come across this year. Check out Life/Thrills below via the Spotify player and see what you think of it. Cheers!

 

The Details

Acting as a respite from the celebrated strains of modern Australian underground music, Lower Plenty manage a deconstruction of folk music like none other: unsettled, unforgiving, unconcerned with what came before or what’s to follow. Acoustic guitars shuffle in and out of phase with one another, double-tracked vocals hover above in careful meter, brushed snare rattles the very frame of their sound, and then everything shifts again, and again. Comfort’s not long here, though beauty is maintained; melodies start sweet but turn inward, wane nostalgic and wax without resolve. Lyrics pawn regret out of the ordinary, drifting in and out of your consciousness like something heard in passing and reconstituted in a dream. Their sound demands your attention, to the point where gloved, spectral hands could very easily jump out of their music and grab you by the sides of your head.

Life/Thrills is the Melbourne group’s third full-length, and their collective experience (members play in a host of other bands, not limited to Total Control, The UV Race, Exhaustion, Deaf Wish and Dick Diver) will leave you thoroughly unprepared for the beautiful confusion suggested by these ten songs, which seem to have the power of slowing and even stopping time. Suitable comparisons to this music are as disparate as early Cat Power, Arab Strap, the Shrimper roster ca. 1992, the Sun City Girls, and the late ‘60s/early ‘70s output of the Red Crayola, but as with much truly original music, Lower Plenty resists direct comparison and defies expectation. Their shambling, discordant presence will relieve you of any preconceptions – this is one best experienced alone, as the sun fades into the horizon for the night.

Price $17.98

Listen on Spotify

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