RELEASE: Many Ways In… …One Way Out.
RELEASE DATE: 25/08/15
RECORD COMPANY: Kasumuen Records
Many Ways in… One Way Out is a full length album by Australian band Fraudband, a band that we may only assume formed somewhere within a swampland. What does that mean? It means that the music is so dirty, filthy, full of distortion and tribal like drumming that it sounds like it could be a concept album centred on visiting a swampland or marsh to bask in the sludge and the mud. On Many Ways in… the band have created a literal gem; a seminal throwback to the crunchy, wild garage rock of the 90’s with a touch of post-rock for instrumental purposes; and finally, and perhaps most beautifully, a dirty avant-garde song writing skill that many artists try, but never touch upon. The album stretches over nine tracks of instrumental scratching and playing; with some songs easily exceeding the five minute moment where other bands would whimper over to the next song. In some ways, I feel like the band want this album to appear as a rock album, something that can be digested by hard rock and rock and roll audiences around the world; but ultimately, it is so, so, so much more than that.
The album begins with the over six minute churn of ‘Tangled Up’ whose intro seems at first disjointed; but actually sets up the listener for what the albums main features; wild, distorted, experimental chugging that bounces from speaker to speaker. ‘Tangled Up’ also sets out to establish the style of drumming that will be featured on the album; a warped style of tribal drumming with the blast smash of snare and cymbals included for good measure. The drums tap away in the background of the track, acting as pure percussion until blasting out into an in-time/disjointed tangent with the guitar. The guitar itself hums, in a drone like style, heavy and distorted, over the mix almost adding layers to the music while only actually being one instrument. The guitar is played so heavily at times that I wondered whether it was a bass guitar or electric guitar (or both?) when I listened to the album. Either way; it slots in majestically amidst a rat-a-tat-tat of noise, the frequency of which is at times deafening, and others still, like water at a swamp. After almost six minutes of math-garage-rock, the song distorts itself out into pure noise and ends, leading intelligently into the piercing feedback of the following track, ‘(I’ve Got An) Eastern Block’. This timid, while fiery track seeks to replicate and simultaneously taunt the sounds that Sonic Youth broke through the underground with back in the early to late nineties; with a dronish disunited sound tied into the mix, deep down. It could be said that almost the whole album acts as a type of noise trance, but then it slips out of its own riff and into another, only to cease into cymbal tapping and feedback and fall back into its original riff; an intelligently fragmented style of song writing.
Things are stepped down for the almost seven minute song; ‘Sometimes… Somethings Must Pass’, which sees the drums taking a backseat (equipped with brush sticks) to the reverbed, noise-dream strum tone of the guitar. This song is brilliant in that the band have built the listener up with one form of music and with this track, bring it all back down to its primitive, contemplative self; fantastic. The track ‘Find Something’ goes even deeper into the sound that the band toyed with at the beginning of the album; consisting of deep, rumbling drums and the echoed guitar. On ‘Find Something’ the band dive deep into the noisy swamp rock sound that has remained subtle in the music the entire time. At just before the three minute mark, however, the band bust into a fever-climb, where their riff gets faster and faster, more intricate and intricate, bouncing from the speakers; trancing out and out and building the sound. Eventually the sound tampers back down to its primitive chug and feedback, another clever and brilliant moment on the album. ‘Keyed In’ sounds like it could have come from any racing video game soundtrack in its intro; with its playful riff playing and subtle drumming… Then at around the one and half minute point, the experimental undertones of the album shine through brightly into the track, which folds into feedback and then finally a vast and humming strum that crescendos its way up only to fall back to its original playing riff, which then exceeds itself and becomes a wild tap of the snare and speedy playing. Then after all of that, the track ceases… Wallowing into the following track, ‘Starting Over’, begins with a sound similar to American band Shellac… But much more dirty. At this point, every piece of jaunting music from the entire album is pulled together for a just over six minute orgy of dwam-influenced psych-rock that takes the noise soundscape of past songs to higher levels.
The album concludes with the sonically epic track, ‘Made a Mountain’, the album highlight and most monster track; weighing in at over seven minutes. Here, Fraudband explore their deepest tribal desires, placing the audience in lucid confusion of white noise-style background sound and utilizing their great talent; writing songs that seem simple-minded, but become their own beasts with every listen. When ‘Made a Mountain’ concludes, the listener feels like they have just run a marathon, while at the same time seeking answers to the questions the album has just posed. I feel like this is the sort of album that should come with a mode of suggested listening; and that is to listen to the entire album in one sitting, at least initially, so that one may listen to its power and transcendence over the audience as each song ties into the following.
A great deal of bands seek out the tribal-like primitive rock sound that hangs around ‘Many Ways in… One Way Out’ so predominantly; proof to the bands skills to write intelligent, swamp-rock tunes. Although on an initial listen one may think that the genre of music heard on the album is of a raw styling of production, I must commend the mixing, which is in fact the opposite of that notion. The mixing is careful, switching the drums to the front of the sounds with the guitar while simultaneously keeping both instruments tucked into the background. For example, on many places on the album, there is a touch of feedback/noise in the back of the mix, as there is at times a very simple and quiet drum pattern; while both those instruments sit at the very front of the sound. The construction of noise-rock, coupled with swamp rock, garage rock, math rock and the experimentation of primitive trance beats make ‘Many Ways in… One Way Out’ stand out as a much better-rounded, clever take on a distinctive and fantastic sound. Some may tire of the frequency and noises of the album, the way that the sound fades in and then blasts feedback, retreating into a math rock signature… But most will see past this and appreciate the albums great way it keeps its central sound and themes relevant. Really, ‘Many Ways in… One Way Out’ is like an addictive substance (did you just read that?) in that you take it (in this case listen to it) and afterwards, when the drug has worn off, everything seems bland, try-hard, unintelligent and boring. With this in mind, the album seeks out and successfully creates something wild and stylish, through writing, composition and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.