Late 2004 I almost shat myself looking at the line up Jack & Dinos Chapman had set up for All Tomorrows Parties. An indescribably unique festival, whereby an artist [be they musical, writerly or visual] picks their ultimate festival line up.
The Chapman's sorted one packed with musical ingenuity Shellac, Lightning Bolt, Little Wings, Mercury Rev, Silver Mount Zion, Hood, Sun o))) for starters. And a peculiar four-piece based in Melbourne, the unapologetically decadent and endlessly nasty Bird Blobs, retrospectively crowned by coordinators as "festival highlight".
So Bird Blobs, eh? For a brief musical placing think back a good 20 years breeding the violence and vitriol that rock n' roll was once synonymous with, over something that could be described as a warped blues infused early post punk. Makes no sense? Good. Musically, you see, they're almost indescribable: frenetic and frantic, raw and vicious, and lyrically it's all about snarling stories.
Bird Blobs are so in your face that at any given moment you'd expect frontman Tim Evans to jump out of your stereo and throttle you with masochistic enjoyment. Live he almost does. It's recalling that violent aesthetic that featured so prominently in outsider rock n roll from the late 70s/ early 80s the Stooges, the Birthday Party, the Scientists et al, and doing it with a trademark disinterest to the shit that comes along with playing in a band. They dig the music, their music, and couldn't care less about how many babies Triple J had over it, or how many people might be offended by the content.
Thats totally not the game plan youd be checking your so-hot-right-now rock bands against, which is exactly where Bird Blobs fit in as part of a musical thread of their very own.
"We're drawing on what we think is interesting and good in rock music, and we're lyrically trying to put in things that are totally unique to me. I'm not trying to sing lyrics that are the same as somebody in America or England or something, I'm trying to sing about stories to do with growing up in bogan culture, and the criminal culture where I grew up in Australia and particularly Tasmania. The lyrics are a big part of it, particularly the aesthetic and that's totally unique to my experience", Evans reasons, trying himself to get to the core of his musical existence.
"I'm just telling stories", he continues. "It's about nasty stories. I mean, there is a bit of a love story in there boy meets girl and they fall in love [pause] has a car accident, or chops her head off or something. You know?"
With an impressive Melbourne-based musical heritage Bird Blobs have in their ranks Evans [ex-Sea Scouts], Steve Masterson [Limit of Shunt], Jordan Redaelli and Ian Wadley [both from Minimum Chips], but the resulting sound isnt something you could predict as a sum of their parts, and hasn't been since their inception. Starting off as Evans' project post Sea Scouts, Bird Blobs began as a weird country hybrid with a self titled debut that has seemingly been forgotten and dismissed - very much as an adjunct to the real Bird Blobs sound.
"[It was] inspired by bands I liked, like the Dirty Three, Lee Hazlewood etc. It still had the story aspect to it, but the music wasnt violent and nasty and aggressive. Then I suppose over time I just got drawn to what was more natural for me, which was rock n' roll and I think violence is an important part of rock n' roll I think the great rock n roll bands, there was som violence to their music."
Since then its been two more albums [2003s Stihl Life and 2004s self titled] which have helped garner their unmistakable sound and unrivalled song-telling ability to pick up on an Australian consciousness that has the oz-patriot repressing romantic visions of the criminal.
While it starts with delivery, Evans points out that in a style thats so hard to digest, your content has to back it up - "To me it's part and parcel to the whole thing - you can't sing in that voice, well you can sing in that voice and sing about flowers and trees and love, but thats not what its about." Which is where this band asserts their particular significance as a band that matters, a band where everything counts.
From the primal rhythms to the sneering vocals, the unnerving guitar and counter pointing bass - they're all there to serve involved vignettes, with the response from a listener being quite sensory. And fuck its refreshing to have something a bit insightful, albeit implicitly, seeping through in some local lyrical content.
When asked about that Australian consciousness, that bogan culture and the pseudo criminal thread running through it, Evans delves into a bit of history. "I think we have our own version of it, from Ned Kelly to Chopper to our obsession with crime because our criminal past as a nation, it makes up a lot of our consciousness But to me its an Australian aesthetic and people probably cringe from that."
It's a bit weird to think that running somewhere deep, under the veneer of perfection that characterizes our lives, theres a criminal-esque inclination. It ruptures our comfy lives, which is difficult to digest and is consequently overlooked. "And that makes us more relevant here than your average band, because the average band doesnt think about that they try and sing like Radiohead or something like that", Evans continues.
Not your average band by any means, and that they do it with that much originality and a resounding amount of musical success surely makes them stand out in this country and abroad. The band itself was named after a painting one of Evans friends painted whilst high on acid. He killed himself not long after. The artwork, Bird Blobs was immortalized forever as the bands reason for being.
The inspiration behind Evans mastermind concept?
"I've always been attracted to those stories, those tales of people doing crazy, violent things. And I was talking to my brother one night and we were exchanging some of these stories and he reminded me of some stories and I was like 'You should write these down, you should write a book, you should do something with these'. And he turned around to me and said 'What are you talking about, you're in a band, you should be singing about this, what else have you got to sing about?'"
BAM! Right there. No more forlorn love stories, or pathetic attempts at recreating a universally bland experience, Bird Blobs give you a lot more to digest in their work and while it's not the most palatable thing youll encounter I guarantee it's infused with so much passion and delivered almost to the point of idiom that when you hear it it'll infiltrate your brain and be ingrained in your consciousness.