[15 January 2014]
Chances are whichever city you live in or near has a pretty happening music scene. Thanks a lot Surfer Rosa. Just because everyone to ever buy you started a band doesn’t necessarily mean they should have. With the readily navigable abundance of technology available today, all those three and four piece pop groups are demanding their slice of your attention pie. Still, if capitalism has taught us anything, it’s that a little competition is a good thing.
As far as markets are concerned, the old standbys have been US, UK, and far away but mighty Japan. If your group or music project can find success with these markets, then you’re a shoe in for global touring and cross continental success. While the digital age has opened up global audiences to any outfit worth the attention, America’s knowledge of foreign groups is decidedly limited. Sure, the odd English boy band surfaces on American airwaves, and every now and then a supergroup like Golden Earring or Abba rises outta the hinterlands of Obscuria to conquer the states but they remain the exception to a rather well established rule.
Most Americans would be hard pressed to name their favorite rock or pop group from say mainland Europe or South America, but that might only be because Americans don’t have a lot of time for non-English speaking cultures. So what about the quiet continent, Australia? In addition to being rated one of the best places on the planet to live, Australia has a vibrant, dynamic Anglo-Saxon based culture. To your minimal knowledge of Aussie groups Wolfmother, Silver Chair and AC/DC add the little known but ambitious World’s End Press.
This self-titled debut album straddles the line between analogue dance and modern synthpop. Musically, the rich production value and attention to ambient detail both intensifies yet also detracts from the intended direction. While the first few opening tracks deliver singles worthy of radio rotation, a deeper voyage into the album dashes any hope of mainstream credibility. The sonic miasma contained within extensive intros, bridges and outtros employed heavily throughout the later half of the album serve to confuse. Is the audience meant to dance, or sing along? While I imagine World’s End Press would prefer both this fusion of DJ led dance party and new wave pop doesn’t quite mesh with Americentric tastes.
That’s not to say anything about World’s End Press was done poorly. This young Melbourne based group has created an album arguably ahead of it’s Camdentown and Brooklyn based proto-hipster contemporaries. Still, the lyrical subjects and strains of dark rhythms seem out of place when contrasted against some of the lighter, pop fizzle beats and dance-hall synthwork. It seems as if World’s End Press is still shaking out their identity, unable to commit to a single identifiable direction fully. As well, certain tracks should have been cut altogether. Most notable the piano balladry of “Vanguard” and the unnecessarily long and gratingly repetitive closing track, “Out”.
Give the boys of World’s End Press time. Perhaps expand your own musical pallet too, and remove the blinders from the largely American ideal of pop discourse. WEP doesn’t offer entertainment so much as challenge to preconception with their debut. The album is food for thought that allows room for hip shaking during digestion.