4 Track, EP (2013, Quemada)
Related: Love Chants.
Love Chants is Anthony Guerra (Black Petal label), Matt Earle (Breakdance the Dawn) and Michael Zulicki (Mad Nanna, Alberts Basement). Each live in a different city but all come from that same dark place where bleak and despondent pop rule.
After the previous release First Sessions, this 12” is four fragile songs broken to bits then somehow loosely glued together. Like old dressing-gowned patients hauling on cigarettes outside a hospital, there is a depressing frailty on offer. There is little steady melody, guitars are barely strummed and Earle’s drums are hit, it seems, tentatively or even mistakenly. Guerra’s vocals hover, a whisper.
It is both beautiful and frustrating in its lack of competence, but that seems to be the point. The six-and-a-half-minute ‘I Won’t Run’ has a simple guitar line that is repeated. And repeated. An autistic raga. Guerra’s vocals come in close to the three-minute mark but even they seem to be barely audible exhalations.
In early reviews and discussions of Love Chants, the name of American experimental guitarist Loren Connors has popped up both in reference to the songs’ isolated improvisation and guitar explorations. While Connors and his sometime collaborator Jandek are understandable points of comparison, the slowed-down avant rock of a track like ‘Untitled’ fits the gentler but scratchy guitar of Sterling Morrison on the Velvet Underground’s 1969 self-titled album.
With the band split between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, rehearsals have been irregular. But you’d think that even if they shared the same house, the three would rarely practice. The hushed nuance of imperfection and improvisation seems to be the music’s driving force.
Each cover sleeve of the limited run release on Quemada Records – the small Queens, New York operation that presses Australian artists like Mad Nanna, Molehouse and Drunk Elk – features a unique pasted-on piece of artwork by Guerra.
by Tim Scott