Review by Paul Broome
DEAD are a bass and drums noise rock duo from down under whose members Jem and Jace both play in numerous other punk bands, and who also run the label on which this is released. They embrace the DIY ethos like the 21st century punk stalwarts they are. They are in DEAD purely because they enjoy being in DEAD – and this is a fact I am glad of, because I also enjoy DEAD. Idiots is their second studio album – following on from 2011’s Thundaaaaah! – and as parcels of songs go, it’s a beaut.
It opens with an extended ambient intro before a head cracking bass thunders in fixated to the same single pummelling note, eventually being joined by a similarly fixated snare pattern – the dual vocals of Jem and Jace shout out for dominance, railing in and around the cage of the song built by those repetitive but captivating riffs and percussive rigging, cresting to an assault of a drawn out crescendo.
‘Murder Hollow’ has to be something of a highlight for me – dirge-like bass and spooky vocal, atmosphere up to its chin. It pulls you in, then freaks you out. Bloody gorgeous.
Closing track ‘Lego Men’ is the perfect 11 minute summation of the scope, ambition and talent that is DEAD. Nothing is rushed, but everything is there – it starts out slow, solid and certain. The intensity ratcheted up almost imperceptibly through the simplest and most effective of riffs, before striking out in a new – but no less considered – direction for the final third. Any other band would probably have been tempted to finish with a bang, or an increase in tempo – but not DEAD. They have the confidence to stick to their guns, and that’s what makes this album so great. It’s free, raw and wild, but it’s also structured, focused and assured.
For me the roots of noise rock can be traced back to the sub-genre of punk fathered by the likes of The Birthday Party, so it’s great to find out that music as unfettered, raucous and uncompromising as this is still streaming forth from our Antipodeon cousins.
8 out of 10
- The Carcass Is Dry
- Couldn’t Keep His Mouth Shut
- Murder Hollow
- Bed Bugs
- Inherit the Wind
- Lego Men