Record review: Dead Shades – Garage à Trois (2014, EP)

Dead Shades

Dead Shades’ bio lists their interests as “playing shows, drinking shandies, talking shit”, but it should probably have “making hard-rocking garage EPs that punch you in the face then buy you a beer” on that list. Garage à Trois (see what they did there) is one of the first genuinely exciting releases of a year that has been more than a bit thin on the ground in terms of quality new records thus far. The Brisbane trio’s second EP may only be fifteen minutes long, but it manages to pack enough of a punch in that time to warrant repeated listens. Opener ‘Spring Hill’ – named for the band’s home suburb – gets straight into the garage rock riffs and barrels along at a frantic pace before singer-guitarist Brian L’Huillier shreds heavily with a savage and scratchy solo; a common element in the band’s songs. ‘Killing Me’ and ‘I Need You’ are more measured but still rock with a slow-burning intensity; a comparison could be made with Band of Skulls without the sheen that makes them less appealing to lovers of the DIY aesthetic of garage-rock. There’s also an element of the late ’60s power trios like Cream and Taste about everything the band does, whether intentional or not, although the spaghetti western flavour of closer ‘Ain’t Easy’ takes the sound in a new direction just as the EP comes to a close. Cheesy title aside, Garage à Trois is an accomplished and engrossing release. (Bird Fire)

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