Review: Lower Plenty – Hard Rubbish
Published on March 25th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Fire Records’s venture into the Australian underground continues apace with their release of this lo-fi ‘n’ lyrical second album from Melbourne four-piece Lower Plenty, apparently recorded “on eight-track reel-to-reel tape, often in just a single take”.
The character coursing through the folky fingerpicking and charmingly sloppy boy/girl vocals places Hard Rubbish somewhere in between Moldy Peaches and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, although the guitar solo on “Strange Beast” and speak-sing delivery of “Do what you must / ‘Cause soon you’ll be dust” on “Nullarbor” hint at a Pavement influence, which of course would account for their willingness to embrace basic recording techniques. It’s unlikely to earn them much in the way of mainstream radio play, but the sheer heart of it should reserve it a special place in the hearts (we’re aware of the repetition) of those who welcome its ramshackle charms.
“Dirty Flowers” ramps up the psych with a frantic soft onslaught of Velvet Underground feedback applied to a thrusting, Arthur Lee-esque chord progression, while “Grass” and “How Low Can a Punk Get” settle into such lovely, gently stoned melancholy that it’s hard not to feel seduced. Furthermore, lines such as “Where was I when you needed me? / Oh the shame, I was on a mountain” (“White Walls”) and “I was close enough to the light just to see the fading of the dark / I was far enough away just to see the fading of the light” (“Close Enough”) toe a satisfying line between rueful and just plain daft.
“Close Enough” – the, er, closer – takes on some incongruous fuzzy guitar wailing at the end that hints at the presence of a trick or two up Lower Plenty’s collective sleeve that may well come to the fore next time out. Then again, it might not. Either way, Hard Rubbish is sufficiently promising to suggest that it’ll be worth investigating.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Hard Rubbish will be released on 1st April through Fire Records.