Actor Slash Model
Actor Slash Model
10 Track, LP (2012, Independent)
Related: Actor Slash Model.
There’s no getting around it: indie rock of the 1990s is huge for Actor Slash Model. But rather than just stick to one particular influence from that decade, the Melbourne trio make an enthusiastic grab for as much as they can carry. There’s some Bats and Pavement in the New Wave-y opener ‘Katherine Justice’, while the 13-minute marathon ‘Drive By Mothers’ goes from recalling Sonic Youth’s ‘Silver Rocket’ to Sonic Youth’s ‘The Diamond Sea’. See also the Slint guitar bristles on ‘Shine of the Dark’, the Yo La Tengo-in-pop-mode vibe to ‘Life No Lanes’ and the call-and-response vocals and angular dynamic of Sleater-Kinney on ‘Bedstorm’.
However, they’re more passing cues than the endgame of these songs. As unmistakable as they might be to fans of those bands, what defines Actor Slash Model’s long-overdue first album is the collision of twinkling pop and unruly noise. The tunes led by singer/keyboardist Karen Anson may have a more coy and at times twee feel to them (‘Curse Those Doors’, ‘From the Benchseat’), but even her sugary chorus on ‘Scoop Gotcha’ is tucked into growing instrumental turbulence.
It’s an album of odd detours and roundabout returns. ‘Katherine Justice’ works through a fair few mood swings before circling back to the glistening jangle of its start, and the seven-minute ‘Shut Up Shop’ moves from tug-of-war tension to crunchier rock moments yet also indulges in a rubbery Kraut-pop groove. ‘Shine of the Dark’ proves both airy and abrasive, and ‘Life No Lanes’ establishes gooey keyboards and delicate charm before singer/guitarist Ricky French’s darkening licks ramp up to a cacophony and then slide back to a dreamy cruising altitude.
It’s not a perfect record, and long at 55 minutes, but its waggling loose ends set it apart from radio-hungry indie bands who try to clamp down on anything that might hamper their accessibility. Actor Slash Model are idiosyncratic and not exactly ambitious – it’s taken them five years to follow up their first EP – and here they offer a comfort-food version of indie rock that sneaks in some discomfort along the way.
by Doug Wallen