I Made Blood Better
8 Track, LP (2012, Negative Guest List)
Related: Mad Nanna.
One of the first lines uttered on this record is, “Am I hallucinating?” It's only a minute since you placed the needle in the groove, but it's already a timely question. I Made Blood Better sounds like a very laaazy submission to some blazed subconscious: it's basically the aural equivalent of an onset of severe muscle atrophy. Imagine laying in bed for a month. When you first attempt to stand, you immediately fall. But you don't bother getting back up because ... well, it's quite okay down there, and you had no where to go anyway.
Mad Nanna's songs aren't stream-of-consciousness. That's suggestive of too much baggage, because the only resemblance to sentience here is the fact the music actually moves, albeit with its own syrupy, narcoleptic tread. This record is broken in most conceivable ways. Every note or vocalisation leaves trails of stickiness, like some sickly amphetamine cheese.
Mad Nanna is a Melbourne five-piece, fitting somewhere in the centre of a triad consisting Jandek, the Dead C and the Shadow Ring. If none of those approximate parallels mean anything to you, then just imagine an indie guitar band with a sloppy affectation, slow that down twice-fold, chew the cassette tape, re-spool, and then press play. Most will find this record punishingly listless: Ian Wadley's drums miss most appointments with “the beat”, while Michael Zulicki's vocals crudely elucidate only semblances of a theme. Mad Nanna always fall just-so short of making clear what their songs are about, and so the plaintive commonness of the snatches you understand take on some inflated meaning. 'If I Don't Sleep Tonight' is a gorgeous song, if you've the patience, but why is he “bleeding on the floor”, and why does he “not mind”? Probably because that's just what he felt like singing. But amidst the wreckage of sound that accompanies it, you can't help but fill in the gaps.
Above all else, Mad Nanna sounds resigned. They also sound forlorn, hopeless, broken and inadequate. But it's not depressing music, and nor does it languish in ennui. It's liberatingly free: melodies flail and peter out, good ideas occur and disappear because, you know, who cares to rise to them. The whole B-side of this LP is a live performance, and by the sound of things no one in the audience is listening. It's actually hilarious: you can almost follow entire threads of conversation. But the band play anyway, because what else would they do? They're a band. This is what a band does. It plays. No matter what. That is the situation.
by Shaun Prescott