Record review: Mere Women – Your Town (2014, LP)

mere women your town

DIY post-punk trio Mere Women recorded their second album in a cold-storage warehouse, and if ever a record’s surroundings affected the final sound, it’s here.

All hauntingly-focussed vocals, stabbing guitars and dark disdain, Your Town is the type of brutally abrasive collection of songs that would never make sense played in daylight or with anything on your mind except thoughts of anger, helplessness and schadenfreude.

The Sydney trio of keyboardist/singer Amy Wilson, drummer Katrina Byrne and guitarist Flyn Mckinnirey have been knocking around since 2011, and their 2012 debut Old Life earned them acclaim as an underground act worth keeping an eye on. Since then they have honed in on a more cohesive sound that perfectly captures the crushing, claustrophobic feeling of small-town-anywhere in all its depressing glory.

If the title track were a person, it’d be one of those pent-up, vaguely unhinged people you meet on public transport who fill you with equal amounts of intrigue and dread. Single ‘Our Street’ is the musical manifestation of suburban solitude, as Wilson asks “will you still want me when I’m old and frail?” and “will you think of me when I’m cold and pale?” with a jagged pop melody, as Mckinnirey’s relentless riffs flail and stab.

Waiting for the gloom to ease off over ten songs is a long and exhausting process, but by the time closer ‘Moon Creeper’ tries to lull you into a false sense of security with a soft opening 30 seconds, you know it isn’t going to happen, and another Mckinnirey riff proves you right.

Overall, Your Town is a well-crafted and worthwhile album of post-punk, even if after listening to it you’ll want it to creep back into the shadows of the ill-lit warehouse it crawled out of. This is music for dank basements and crushed hopes.

For FasterLouder

Record review: Eagulls – Eagulls (2014, LP)

eagulls album cover

Holy Ian Curtis: this ain’t no sunny pop record. English post-punk up-and-comers Eagulls have already gained a metaphoric mountain of music press attention since their 2009 formation; a situation that can be potentially favourable or fatal to a band yet to release their debut album. Thankfully the quintet seems to have dealt with the pressure of expectation well, as this self-titled ten-track collection is a solid and confident effort. All angry, bleak disillusionment and despair carried off with stark vocal arrangements, chugging bass-lines and apocalyptic guitars, this is an absorbing album that grabs you by the lapels and doesn’t let you go until it’s battered your eardrums to within an inch of their life and left your spirit just a little bit crushed. The blistering ‘Yellow Eyes’ and ‘Amber Veins’ are highlights, as is closer ‘Soulless Youth’, which could explain the basis of most of the lyrical content throughout. Singer George Mitchell rants and caterwauls with the best of them as his band recalls the sounds of Savages, Joy Division and Iceage, and it’s all topped off with flawless production. While there’s not much variety and the album is a little exhausting to listen to from start to finish, this is an important and promising addition to the post-punk genre. (Popfrenzy)

Interview: Andy Gill of Gang of Four

gang of four

AS guitarist, songwriter and founding member of iconic post-punk quartet Gang of Four, Andy Gill’s body of work is as influential as it is recognisable. To mark thirty-five years since their debut record Entertainment!, Gang of Four will tour Australia, playing the album in full. I fought possibly the crackliest phone line in existence to speak with Andy about the longevity of Entertainment!‘s appeal and rumours of new Gang of Four material.

Hi Andy, what have you been up to recently?

For the last few months I’ve essentially been locked down in the studio getting the new record finished. It’s thirteen songs, as yet untitled, and it’s been a culmination of a couple of years work. I’m probably getting a bit obsessive about it as I haven’t really been seeing the light of day sometimes.

It’s a new Gang of Four album, as opposed to solo stuff, yes? When do you expect to have it finished?

Yes it is. It will definitely be finished soon; when exactly it will come out is subject to quite a lot of debate at the moment; between labels and stuff. We’re trying to figure out if we can have it out by about June.

On this tour you’ll be playing the Entertainment! album in full, but will you be playing any of the new songs as well?

We’ll be doing firstly Entertainment! , or most of it at least. There’s a song on there called ‘Contract’ which we never play. We’ll do one but not both of ‘5:45’ and ‘Guns Before Butter’. There will be new songs, but there will be also newer songs; songs not necessarily from the new record, but our last few. We’ll have one or two things from Shrinkwrapped and some others as well; things that always appeal to our audience.

Why is now the right time to play Entertainment! in full?

I think as it’s been thirty-five years it’s a record that people can see laid down the band’s methodology and as such it’s an important record.

Which of the songs was least familiar to you during rehearsal?

There are some songs on there which we always play, like ‘Anthrax’, ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘Natural’s Not In It’, and we’ve streamlined some of them, but ‘Guns Before Butter’ and ‘5:45’ would be the most unfamiliar.

Do you think that a lot of the themes on the album are still relevant today?

Absolutely. Very much so. The thing about the lyrical angles is that current affairs were a big part of our theme. We didn’t particularly sing songs about particular events, although sometimes we mentioned them in passing, but more often observations about our lives and the type of people around us, and this advanced capitalist society which we occupy. The new material is similar.

What are your plans for the rest of the year after the tour?

The record will be out at some point, and we’re going to tour all over the world. After Australia, there will be China, Japan, all over Europe, South and North America; so there’ll be plenty going on. Now we’ve got [singer] John Gaoler involved we can do live gigs, and that’s a really strong aspect of what we’ll be doing.


Wednesday 19th March Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Thursday 20th March Metro Theatre, Sydney

Saturday 22nd March HiFi, Brisbane

Sunday 23rd March Capital, Perth